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TRAVELS 


MALTA     AND     SICILY, 


SKETCHES  OF  GIBRALTAR  IN  1827. 


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TRAVELS 


IN 


MALTA  AND    SICILY, 


SKETCHES  OF  GIBRALTAR, 


IN 


MDCCCXXVII.  ^      ^^^ 


U,-L-tQ 


BY    ANDREW    BIGELOW, 

AUTHOR  OF  '  LEAVES  FROM  A  JOURNAL  IN  NORTH  BRITAIN  AND  IRELAND. 


BOSTON. 

PUBLISHED  BY  CARTER,  HENDEE  &  BABCOCK. 
NEW    YORK  — ELAM    BLISS. 

1831. 


Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1S31  by 
CarterJ  Hektdee  &  Babcock,  in  the  Clerk's  office  of  the  District  Court 
of  Massachusetts. 


BOSTON      CLASSIC      PRESS: 
I.    R.     BUTTS. 


ADVERTISEMENT. 


As  it  was  desirable,  not  for  mere  embellishment,  but  for  the  sake 
of  illustration,  to  introduce  some  lithograph  prints  into  this  work, — 
and  the  author  himself  being  no  draughtsman,  —  he  was  obliged  in 
selecting  from  the  materials  which  he  possessed,  to  avail  himself  of 
the  sketches  of  others.  The  Topographical  Chart  of  Mount  ^tna, 
as  stated  in  the  Appendix,  was  framed  from  two  plans  transmitted 
from  a  Sicilian  friend  and  correspondent.  The  prints,  entitled  Scenery 
of  Mount  ^tna  and  View  of  the  Ear  of  Dionysius,  differ  in  nothing- 
essential  from  two  engravings  which  ornament  the  beautiful  quarto 
of  Capt.  Smyth.  The  Head  of  La  Valette  is  copied  from  De  Boisgelin, 
but  improved  in  the  execution.  It  answers,  in  the  expression,  to  the 
best  portraits  of  the  hero.  The  Bird's-eye  View  of  Malta  is  substan- 
tially the  same  with  the  engravings  of  La  Borde  and  Palmeus,  also 
adopted  by  De  Boisgelin,  but  corrected  and  modified  for  the  present 
work.  The  Ground  Plan  of  Dionysius'  Ear  was  prepared  from  a 
sketch,  taken  from  careful  survey,  and  furnished  by  an  ingenious 
Syracusan  artist. 


PREFACE. 


Although  nearly  three  years  had  elapsed  since  the  tour  in 
Europe  was  completed,  of  a  part  of  which  an  account  is  offered  in 
the  following  pages,  it  was  not  till  the  last  autumn  that  the  author 
undertook  to  arrange  and  transcribe  his  notes  for  the  press.  In 
reviewing  them,  after  so  long  an  interval  and  with  reference  to 
such  a  step,  he  was  induced  to  think  that,  whatever  might  be  their 
specific  defects,  they  contained  materials  of  information,  on  some 
topics,  not  generally  accessible,  nor,  perhaps,  altogether  valueless ; 
and  that  a  volume  could  be  furnished  from  them,  to  fill  up  a  vacant 
place  in  the  catalogue  of  works  by  American  travellers. 

Of  Malta,  an  island  once  famous  in  history,  little  of  late  has 
been  known.  Even  its  fall,  in  1798,  when  the  standard  of  St 
John  was  struck  from  its  ramparts  and  the  tri-coloured  flag  planted 
in  its  place,  —  nay,  and  its  subsequent  reduction,  as  a  trophy  of 
the  naval  ascendency  of  England,  —  were  events  almost  over- 
looked amid  the  mightier  political  changes  then  in  rapid  develop- 
ment, and  which  arrested  the  attention  of  the  world.  Since  the 
publication  of  the  History  by  the  Chevalier  Louis  de  Boisgelin,* 
who  has  traced  the  fortunes  of  the  island  no  lower  than  the  date  of 
its  capitulation  to  the  English,  (September,  1800,)  it  is  not  known 

*  '  Ancient   and   Modern    Malta,  embracing  a  History  of  the   Knights  of 
St  Jolm  of  Jerusalem  ; '  London,  2  vols.  4to,  1805. 
B 


VIU  PREFACE. 

to  the  author  of  these  Travels,  that  any  work  relating  to  Malta  has 
appeared  from  the  press.  The  accounts  of  Tourists  are  of  still 
elder  periods ;  the  latest  which  he  has  met  with  was  published  by 
a  Frenchman,  forty  years  ago  ;*  and  it  is  sixty  years  since  the  visit 
ofBrydone.  The  stay  of  the  latter  on  the  island  was  limited  to 
four  or  five  days,  and  his  descriptions  are  brief  and  superficial. 
The  present  volume,  therefore,  may  be  acceptable  to  those  who 
would  learn,  along  with  the  past,  something  of  the  more  recent  and 
the  present  condition  of  the  Maltese  population,  and  of  an  island 
which,  though  small,  constitutes  a  little  world  in  itself 

Sicily  has  been  more  frequently  explored  ;  but  the  accounts  of 
travellers  are  by  no  means  in  extensive  circulation  on  this  side  of 
the  Atlantic.  The  best  of  them  are  either  locked  up  in  foreign 
languages,  or  in  costly  volumes  like  those  of  Hoiiel,  La  Borde  and 
others ;  or  if  they  have  appeared  in  an  English  dress  and  from 
British  presses,  they  have  not  been  reprinted  in  America.  In  re- 
vising the  volume  now  offered  to  the  public,  the  author  consulted 
the  most  approved  works  to  which  he  could  gain  access,  both  to 
compare  with  them  for  greater  accuracy  his  own  observations 
and  reminiscences,  and  to  gather  suggestions  upon  some  sub- 
jects which  escaped  his  notice,  or  required  amplification.  The 
principal  of  these  works  were  the  able  '  Memoir '  of  Capt.  Smyth, 
R.  N.,t  the  '  Travels  '  of  the  philosophic  Spallanzani,|  and  the 
elaborate  '  Voyage '  of  Hoiiel ;  §  in  addition  to  the  '  History '  of 
De  Boisgelin,  and  '  Malthe'  by  the  French  Tourist,  already  speci- 
fied. Br y done  was  examined ;  but  though  his  '  Letters  '  are 
beautifully  written,  he  was  considered  as  never  entitled  to  any 
great  credit.  As  some  of  the  discussions  introduced  into  these 
pages  involved  references  to  various  ancient  and  erudite  authorities, 
it  is  proper  to  mention,  that  in  all  cases  where  it  was  possible, 
the  fountain-heads  were  resorted  to ;  and  that  in  the  few  instances 

*  '  Malthe,  par  unVoyageur  Francois,'  1791.     Though  published  anonj'^- 
mously,  it  is  an  authentic  and  valuable  work. 

I  '  Memoir,  descriptive  of  the  Resources,  Inhabitants  and  Hydrography  of 
Sicily  and  its  Islands,'  by  W.  H.  Smyth,  London,  4to,  1824. 

t  '  Travels  in  the  Two  Sicilies,'  by  the  Abbe  Lazzaro  Spallanzani,  1784. 

§  '  Voyage  Pittoresquedcp,  Isles  de  Sicile  and  de  Malthe.'  4  vols,  folio.  1782. 


PREFACE.  ]X 

of  unavoidable  exception,  no  citation  has  been  admitted  at  second- 
hand but  on  unquestionable  grounds  of  correctness. 

The  form  of  a  Journal,  it  will  be  perceived,  has  been  retained 
throughout.  It  was  thus  that  the  work  originally  grew  in  the 
author's  hands,  being  principally,  as  it  purports,  a  record  of  daily 
occurrences  and  remarks,  often  penned  in  very  unfavourable  cir- 
cumstances, and  exacting  a  heavy  deduction  from  the  hours  of 
grateful  rest.  But  to  have  adopted  another  plan  of  description, 
would  have  required  a  re-casting  of  the  whole  mass  of  materials,  — 
a  labour  beyond  his  resolution  ;  —  and  what  may  have  been  gained 
in  method,  might  have  been  lost  in  simplicity.  Notes  traced  on 
the  spot  have  a  freshness  which  a  more  formal  narrative  cannot 
always  supply.  A  bunch  of  unsorted  wild  flowers,  with  their 
leaves  unfaded  and  dews  unexhaled,  are  sometimes  preferable  to 
the  choicest  exotics,  scientifically  arranged,  and  pressed  and  dried 
for  an  herbarium. 

In  his  descriptive  sketches,  the  author  has  aimed  at  distinctness. 
He  may  have  failed  in  the  purpose,  but  his  endeavour  has  uni- 
formly been  so  to  frame  his  descriptions,  as  to  enable  the  reader  to 
go  along  with  him;  to  introduce  him  into  the  scenes  detailed,  and 
to  place  things  before  him  with  the  same  points  of  view  which  had 
been  previously  oifered  to  himself  The  reflections  which  arose, 
and  the  feelings  suggested  from  time  to  time,  have  accordingly 
been  expressed.  It  is  possible  that  they  may  be  thought,  with 
some  matters  personal,  to  be  intermixed  too  liberally.  A  con- 
siderable amount,  nevertheless,  has  been  retrenched  from  the 
pages ;  and  it  was  fancied  that  if  the  scissors  were  applied  more 
closely,  and  the  rents  made  broader,  the  only  thread  of  connexion 
would  be  destroyed,  which  binds  together  the  numerous  and  multi- 
form topics  falling  within  the  scope  of  such  a  work.  In  a  Journal 
of  Travels,  it  is  the  pilgrim's  self,  —  however  unworthy  he  may  be 
of  the  honour,  —  the  order,  that  is  to  say,  of  his  movements,  adven- 
tures, observations  and  impressions,  which,  for  want  of  a  better, 
must  give  the  character  of  '  unity '  to  the  narrative.  For,  he 
cannot  classify  his  themes :  he  must  describe  things  as  they  turn 
up, — objects  as  they  lift  themselves  successively  on  his  eye, — dis- 
connected scenes  amid  which  by  accident  he  may  be  thrown, — 
and,  perchance,  the   operations  of  his   mind  and   the  vibrating 


X  PREFACE. 

chord  of  association  as  he  contemplates  the  varied  and  moving 
drama  around  him.  If  faithful  to  his  task  as  Journalist,  his  pen 
will  pass  '  from  gay  to  grave,  from  lively  to  severe,'  in  obedience  to 
the  impulse  it  takes  from  the  shifting  objects  which  catch  his 
notice.  However,  in  the  present  case,  if  ever  the  author  be  thought 
intrusive  with  his  remarks,  or,  his  musing  not  prove  particularly 
amusing,  the  reader  can  easily  slip  his  company ;  and  by  turning 
a  leaf  or  two  in  the  volume,  he  may  chance  upon  other  veins  of 
matter,  —  may  come  to  scenes,  not  sentiments,  and  for  feelings, 
have  facts. 

Among  the  incidental  subjects  of  comment  and  stricture  occur- 
ring in  these  chapters,  there  are  two,  which,  from  their  compara- 
tive prominency,  require  a  word  of  explanation ;  —  These  are  En- 
gland and  the  Catholics.  As  respects  the  last,  the  author  can  truly 
say,  that  his  early  prepossessions  were  strongly  interested  in  their 
Ijehalf  generally,  so  far  as  the  solid  claims  to  estimation  of  those 
of  that  religious  persuasion  who  were  known  in  his  native  land, 
could  favourably  influence  his  mind.  The  mild  piety  and  spotless 
worth  of  Matignon,  of  venerated  memory; — the  eminent  virtues, 
the  almost  apostolical  gifts  and  graces  of  the  first  Bishop  of  Boston, 
now  the  Archbishop  of  Borde  aux ;  —  the  talents  and  learning,  the 
fervid  eloquence,  and  warm-hearted,  expansive  philanthropy  of 
William  Taylor,  —  cut  off,  alas,  in  the  morning  of  his  bright 
day,  —  these,  not  to  allude  to  others  remaining  amongst  us,  whose 
exemplary  lives  would  adorn  the  most  scrupulous  Christian  pro- 
fession, were  enough  to  win  a  measure  of  respect  for  any  cause. 
No  one  can  reasonably  question  that  the  Catholics  of  the  United 
States,  personally  considered,  whether  lay  or  clerical,  are-  as 
much  entitled  to  esteem  and  confidence,  as  the  members  of  the 
strictest  Protestant  denominations ;  and  if  we  turn  to  the  British 
Isles,  we  behold  in  the  Doyles,  the  Kelleys,  and  the  Lingards, 
men,  whose  names  are  among  the  most  resplendent  ornaments  of 
religion,  letters  and  humanity.  Is  it  asked  then,  on  what  princi- 
ples of  truth  and  fairness  the  sweeping  censures  can  be  authorized, 
occasionally  advanced  in  the  ensuing  pages  against  a  faith  and  its 
advocates,  which  elsewhere  are  allowed  to  possess  some  of  the 
noblest  titlee  to  commendation  ?  The  answer  is,  that  Popery  is  one 


PREFACE.  XI 

thing,  seen,  for  example,  in  our  land,  contending  for  a  dubious 
foothold,  and  placed  side  by  side  of  jealous,  rival  and  sharp-sight- 
ed sects ;  and  Popery  is  another  thing  where  it  reigns  '  lord  of  the 
ascendant.'  It  wears  one  aspect  in  Republican  America,  in  Eng- 
land, in  Ireland,  and  semi-protestant  France ;  but  another,  and  a 
very  different  one,  in  Spain,  in  Italy,  in  Sicily  and  Malta.  Should 
it  be  alleged  that  many  of  its  glaring  disfigurements  in  the  coun- 
tries last  named,  result  not  from  any  evils  radically  inherent  in  the 
system  itself,  but  are  parasitical  excrescences  engendered  by  its 
temporal  riches  and  political  relationships,  the  suggestion  un- 
doubtedly is  not  destitute  of  weight.  But  on  the  other  hand,  it 
may  be  queried  whether  the  Catholic  religion  does  not  foster  within 
its  bosom  principles  which  naturally  lead  it  to  aspire  to  an  exclu- 
sive predominance  ?  Whether,  history  does  not  show,  that  it  has 
steadily  coveted  wealth  as  an  engine  of  power, — political  influence 
as  the  ladder  of  self-advancement,  —  and  an  intimate  alliance  of 
Church  with  State,  to  bring  a  resistless  force  to  bear  on  whatever 
would  threaten,  oppose  and  traverse  its  pretensions  ?  Be  this  as  it 
may,  all  may  rejoice,  even  Catholics  themselves,  that  on  this  lib- 
eral soil,  with  the  happy  arrangement  of  checks  and  balances  ex- 
isting in  the  moral  as  in  the  political  machinery,  no  sect  can 
monopolize  a  paramount  authority, — nor  in  conjunction  with  the 
civil  arm,  be  tempted  to  the  exercise  of  that  spirit  of  aggressive  in- 
tolerance, (so  well  characterised  by  a  late,  great  statesman,)  which 
'though  decried  by  all  while  feeble,  is  practised  by  all  when  in 
power.' 

In  relation  to  the  other  topic  alluded  to,  the  author  may  with 
equal  sincerity  declare,  that  whatever  his  present  feelings  may  be, 
the  early  bias  of  his  sentiments  and  attachments  pointed  to  England, 
as  the  country,  next  to  his  own,  claiming  the  homage  of  affection 
and  almost  unqualified  admiration.*  When  the  great  struggle  was 
waging  between  England,  and  the  Continental  Powers  arrayed 
under  the  Imperial  Dictator,  the  modern  Marius,  — the  sympathies 
of  the  juvenile  observer,  in  common  with  half  of  the  people  of  the 

*  A  cordial  expression  was  offered  of  those  feelings  and  sentiments,  in  a 
little  volume  referred  to  on  the  Title  of  this  work,  first  published  at  Boston,  in 
1821,  and  re-published  in  Edinburgh  and  London,  in  1824. 


XII  PUEFACE. 

United  States,  were  enlisted  on  her  side  from  the  behef  that  she 
was  contending  in  a  righteous  cause,  the  triumph  of  which  seemed 
indispensable  to  her  very  existence.  When,  next  indeed,  the  acci- 
dents of  war  brought  this  country  hito  collision  with  England,  and 
she,  that  had  been  regarded  friendly,  was  proved  to  be  hostile,  duty 
forbade  a  compromise  of  sympathies.  They  centered  where  they 
belonged ;  and  while  war  was  lamented  as  an  evil  absolutely  great, 
dishonour  in  war  was  deprecated  as  the  greater.  Peace  ensued; 
and  the  citizens  of  the  United  States  were  prepared  to  act  on  the 
maxim  of  their  immortal  Charter  of  Independence,  accounting 
their  'enemies  in  war, — in  peace,  friends.'  It  was  fondly  hoped 
that  all  asperities  were  softened  down,  soon  to  be  completely 
removed;  and  that  two  nations  possessing  so  many  points  of 
affinity,  —  having  a  common  language,*  a  common  vigour  of 
enterprise,  a  common  love  of  liberty,  and  the  same  Spirit  of 
Laws,  —  would  rejoice  in  each  other's  welfare,  and  cordially  unite 
for  the  diffusion  of  the  great  principles  which  they  mutually  pro- 
fess to  advocate,  among  the  other  nations  of  the  earth.  But  the 
hope  was  illusory.  If  the  lion  were  no  longer  disposed  to  prey 
upon,  he  was  not  yet  content  to  lie  down  with,  the  lamb.  Since 
the  peace  of  1815,  a  constant  feeling  of  jealousy  has  been  mani- 
fested by  England  towards  the  United  States,  —  a  feeling  as  un- 
wise in  its  tendencies  and  operations,  as  it  is  incompatible  with 
true  national  magnanimity.  The  British  presses,  —  with  but  few 
exceptions,  well  known  and  duly  appreciated,  —  have  teemed 
with  vituperation  and  abuse  on  almost  everything  of  cis- Atlantic 
origin,  —  upon  the  men  and  measures  of  the  country,  its  lite- 
rature, and  the  political  and  social    condition  of  its   inhabitants. 

*  Perhaps,  too  much  is  claimed  on  this  score.  We  have  it  certified  on  the 
woi'd  of  a  British  Captain,  that  on  no  two  points  are  the  people  of  England 
and  the  United  States  more  widely  separated,  than  in  the  peculiarities  of 
language.  From  his  account  it  should  seem,  that  the  national  idioms  are  as 
diverse  as  the  Spanish  and  the  Portuguese,  or,  haply,  as  the  Gaelic  and  the 
Saxon.  [Vide,  Basil  Hall's  Travels,  ch.  xvi.]  It  is  true,  a  Yankee  might 
'  guess,'  —  in  default  of  a  better  privilege,  —  that  even  the  astute  Captain 
has  not  yet  fathomed  all  the  philosophy  of  the  English  language  ;  and  that 
ihe  critic's  own  shibboleth  betrays  a  nativity  cast  somewhere  else  than  on 
the  Southern  side  of  the  Tweed. 


PREFACE.  XIU 

It  cannot  be  forgotten  that  when  the  ilkistrious  champion  of 
liberty,  'in  both  worlds,'  the  great  and  good  La  Fayette,  visited 
the  Republic  in  1824 — 5,  and  twelve  millions  of  people  then 
rose,  as  one  man,  to  greet  his  coming ;  when  amid  universal  plau- 
dits and  benedictions,  he  made  his  progress  through  the  twenty- 
four  States  of  the  Union,  —  such  a  progress  as  kings  and  victors 
might  envy,  but  could  not  purchase, — the  British  Journals  parad- 
ed the  circumstances  of  his  reception  as  matters  of  taunt  and  rid- 
icule ;  and  even  the  London  Courier  could  stoop  to  admit  into  its 
columns  doggerel  rhymes  with  the  scurrilous  insinuation  that  they 
had  been  inscribed  on  the  triumphal  arches  erected  in  Boston,  in 
honour  of  that  august  occasion.  English  travellers  who  have  ex- 
plored the  United  States,  have  gone  back  to  repay  the  hospitali- 
ties with  which  they  were  loaded,  by  libelling  all  that  Americans 
hold  most  dear  in  their  country,  and  its  public  and  domestic 
organizations.  In  evidence  of  the  temper  on  one  of  these  points, 
—  it  was  no  longer  ago  than  1826,  that  a  notable  Lieutenant 
posted  through  the  States,  with  the  especial  purpose  of  prying 
into  our  docks  and  marine  arsenals,  and  having  raked  to- 
gether his  observations,  then  hastened  home  to  dedicate  his 
report  to  the  Lord  High  Admiral.  It  purported,  that  whereas, 
he  had  measured  the  scantling,  counted  the  guns  and  summed  up 
the  muster-roll  of  every  line-of-battle  ship,  he  had  proved  the 
Yankee  Navy  to  be  only  a  silly  bugbear,  or  at  best  a  splendid 
phantom.  The  affidavit  of  such  a  competent  witness  was  pub- 
lished with  acclamations,  and  huzzaed  from  Land's  End  to 
Johnny  Groat's.  —  The  next  year  brought  another  tourist,  a  certain 
philosophic  Captain,  to  our  shores,  who,  because  he  had  written  a 
romance  on  Loo  Choo,  felt  competent  to  indite  tales  on  the  na- 
tives of  these  Western  wilds.  But  the  quasi-aboriginals  whom  he 
met  with  here,  by  no  means  found  that  favour  in  his  eyes  which 
the  unsophisticated  children  of  an  opposite  hemisphere  enjoyed. 
Americans  were  characterised  by  one  negative  and  two  positives 
in  their  national  traits,  which  were  insuperable  bars  to  the  lik- 
ings of  the  gentle  stranger.  They  had  no  '  king,'  nor  the  least 
penchant  for  a  king ;  and  they  did  happen  to  have  some  '  coin ' 
which   they  valued,    and    'weapons'    which   they  knew    how   to 


XIV  PREFACE. 

manage.  Whether  from  these  or  some  other  causes,  throughout  his 
peregrinations  from  Maine  to  Louisiana,  the  worthy  Captain  found 
naught  that  was  fair  and  goodly,  but  on  every  hand  a  barren 
waste.  It  was  a  region,  it  seems,  all  swept  and  ravaged  by  '  the 
blighting  tempest  of  Democracy.'  But  fortunately,  he  had  only- 
to  cross  into  Canada,  and  the  scene  changed,  and  with  it  his 
spirit  revived.  The  landscape  appeared  clad  in  softest  verdure ; 
the  roses  sprang  up  beneath  the  traveller's  foot ;  Hesperian  fruits 
charmed  the  eye  and  regaled  the  taste ;  the  people,  in  short,  in- 
nocent as  happy,  dwelt  in  a  terrestrial  Eden  :  —  And  no  wonder. 
For  there,  avers  this  Oracle,  the  beams  of  the  royal  favour  shine 
without  a  cloud ;  every  man  sits  unmolested  under  '  his  vine 
and  figtree,' — nay,  doubtless, — 

Miraturque  novas  frondes,  et  non  sua  poma. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  multiply  particulars  on  this  subject. 
Enough  it  is  to  be  sensible  of  the  force  of  the  prejudice,  and  the 
results  of  those  causes  and  agencies  now  barely  glanced  at. 
The  citizen  of  the  United  States  must  be  more  or  less  than  a 
man,  whose  sensibilities  are  not  affected  by  them.  And  the 
fact  unquestionably  is,  that  the  minds  of  the  great  body  of  the 
American  population,  even  those  formerly  most  attached  to  Great 
Britain,  are  revolutionised ;  —  that  the  feelings  of  all  are  fast  tend- 
ing to  a  total  estrangement  from  her  whom  once  they  were  proud 
to  call  the  parent  country ;  —  and  where  England  might  have 
found  a  warm,  devoted,  uncalculating  ally,  she  seems  destined  one 
day  to  encounter  a  most  resolute  foe.  The  people  of  two  and 
a  half  millions  whom  she  sought  to  trample  in  scorn  in  1775 ;  — 
whom,  with  its  seven  millions,  she  accounted  as  insignificant  and 
pusillanimous  in  1812 ;  —  whom,  in  1831  with  a  census  exceeding 
thirteen  millions,  she  deems  an  object  just  worthy  enough  of  her 
determined  ill-will  and  jealousy,  —  may  have  a  value  in  its  friend- 
ship and  a  weight  in  its  arm,  wherever  bestowed,  when,  in  but 
twenty  years  hence,  it  shall  have  swelled  and  multiplied  to  more 
millions  than  at  this  hour  are  comprehended  in  the  Three  British 
Kingdoms. 

Yet,  it  was  not  from  a  wish  to  promote  such  feelings  of  growing 
alienation,  so  far  as  the  slender  influence  and  unvarnished  repre- 


PREFACE.  XV 

sentations  of  an  humble  individual  can  avail  anything,  that  state- 
ments have  been  offered  and  opinions  expressed  in  this  work 
which  occasionally  reflect  upon  the  policy  and  conduct  of  England 
or  her  agents.  Exceptionable  matters  were  not  sought  out  for  the 
mere  sake  of  animadversion.  It  was  deemed,  nevertheless,  within 
the  province  of  a  journal,  to  remark  upon  them  with  freedom  when 
they  fell  in  the  way.  The  examples  of  Englishmen  are  adduced 
to  show  that  the  language  of  retort  and  censure,  would  be  fully 
warranted,  —  more  especially,  when  borne  out  by  truth  and  honesty ; 
but  still,  a  spirit  of  recrimination,  as  such,  has  by  no  means  been 
indulged.  —  From  the  government  of  that  country,  constituted  as  it 
now  is,  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  a  better  order  of  things  will  arise  at 
home  and  abroad ;  that  among  the  other  changes  to  ensue,  a  more 
liberal  tone  and  bearing  will  hereafter  be  manifested  and  encour- 
aged towards  the  United  States,  and  that  the  cordial  good  will, 
which  should  exist  between  two  such  nations  but  vv^hich  has  been  so 
lamentably  shaken  and  impaired,  may  yet  be  restored  and  cement- 
ed. That  the  sentiments  recorded  in  some  parts  of  this  volume 
on  the  topics  under  allusion,  are  entertained  by  a  no  small  portion 
of  even  the  British  population,  is  shown  by  the  thousands  of  British- 
born  subjects  annually  discharged  upon  our  shores,  and  the  tens 
of  thousands  of  self-expatriated  emigrants  already  domesticated 
among  us,  who  have  fled,  as  they  profess,  from  political  grievances, 
past  misrule,  and  the  insufferable  pressure  of  the  national  burdens 
in  Old  England. 

It  is  one  of  the  benefits  which  an  American  derives  from  foreign 
travel,  to  return  doubly  satisfied  with  the  country  of  his  birth. 
Comparing  its  exuberant  blessings  with  all  that  he  may  elsewhere 
find,  he  perceives  them  immeasurably  preeminent.  If  his  imagi- 
nation may  have  previously  formed  an  overwrought  estimate  of 
the  general  advantages  of  the  people  of  some  other  clime,  he 
comes  back  with  a  mind  disabused.  He  brings  with  him  an  en- 
lightened conviction,  that  nowhere  else  is  an  equal  sum  of  moral, 
political  and  social  privileges  dispensed,  as  here ;  and  his  heart 
yearns,  by  consequence,  with  a  deeper,  a  more  thorough  affection 
to  the  land  where  those  privileges  are  so  diffusively  experienced. 
He  rejoices  in  '  his  country —  his  whole  country  ; '  and  hails  it  as 
the  best,  the  fairest,  which  the  sun  visits  in  its  circuit. 
c 


XVI  PREFACE. 

If,  in  the  Travels  now  presented  to  the  reader,  the  author  has 
succeeded  in  illustrating  the  grounds  of  such  a  sentiment ;  if  he 
has  furnished  any  additional  helps  for  forming,  directly  or  by 
contrast,  a  juster  appreciation  of  the  superior  condition  of  Ameri- 
can citizens  generally  to  that  of  the  subjects  of  some  foreign  gov- 
ernments ;  if  he  may  contribute  to  quicken  in  the  bosoms  of  but  a 
few  of  his  countrymen  a  throb  of  heartfelt  patriotism,  in  reflecting 
that  '  this  is  their  own,  their  native  land,'  —  the  purpose,  most 
anxiously  contemplated  by  the  present  publication,  will  be  ac- 
complished. 

Ma&cu  31, 1831. 


ERRATA. 


Page  118,  line  15  from  bottom,  for  '  deafened/  read  '  deafening.' 

a  169  £<  5  "          '^        for  '  ship  docks,' read  '  ships,  docks.' 

"  265^  "  6  "  top,  for  '  capitol,'  read  ^  capital.' 

"  267,  "  15  ''  bottom,  for  '  irruption,'  rea'd  '  eruption.' 

''  311,  "  11  "  top,  for  '  Anpaus,' read  '  Anapus.'^ 

«  348,  "  3  "  bottom,  for  '  singularly,'  read  '  significantly.' 

it  427  "  15  *'          "       for  'was  majestically,'  read  'was  seen  majeeti' 


cally.' 
19    ''        top,  for  'Ixiii,' read 'Ix.' 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER    I. 

VOYAGE  TO  THE   STRAITS. 

Reflections  on  Departure.  —  Ocean  Scenery.  —  Thanksgiving  at  Sea. — 
Rough  Gales.  —  Gulf  Stream  5  Speculations  on  its  Drift  and  Tempera- 
ture. —  Inhabitants  of  the  Deep.  —  Sea  Musings.  —  An  Invitation.  —  Dis- 
comforts of  a  Voyage.  —  Nautical  Anecdote.  —  The  Azores  ;  their  Aspect 
and  Phenomena.  —  Course  shaped  from  St  Michaels.  —  Thunder  Storm. 
—  Approach  to  Land.  —  Cape  Trafalgar.  —  Spanish  Coast.  —  African  Con- 
tinent. —  Sublimity  of  Land  and  Sea  Views.  —  Appearance  of  Gibraltar,  — 
Arrival. — Visits  from  Shore.  —  incidents.  —  Evening  on  board 


CHAPTER    II. 

GIBRALTAR. 

Interview  with  the  Health-Physician.  —  Release  from  Quarantine.— 
Impressions  on  Landing.  —  Appearance  of  the  Mole  and  Streets,  —  Sun- 
day J  Religious  Services  in  the  Cathedral  and  Government  Church;  — 
Comments.  —  Spanish  Ladies.  —  Costumes.  —  Jews.  —  Restraints  of  the 
Inhabitants  —  Survey  of  the  Fortifications,  —  Reflections.  —  Ascent  to 
the  South  Pinnacle.  —  Grandeur  of  the  Prospect.  —  St  Michael's  Cave. 

Embarkation  of  Troops  for  Portugal.  —  Military  Pomp. —  Strength  of 

Gibraltar. —  Costliness  of  its  Maintenance.  — A  Query  on  its  Utility    .     .    30 


CHAPTER    III. 

GIBRALTAR. 

Spanish    Lines. —  A    Walk    into    the    Country.  —  St    Roque. —  Dulness 
of  a  Soldier's  Life  in  a  Garrison.  —  Impolicy  of   maintaining  Troops 


XVlll  CONTENTS. 

in  Idleness.  —  Feelings  of  the  Military.  —  Sternness  of  Army  Regula- 
tions.—Illustration. —  An  Afternoon  on  the  Mountain.  —  Arrival  of  the 
Tresident's  Message.  — Cry  of  War.  —  England  and  the  United  States, 

—  Dispositions  of  the  Moorish  Regency.  —  Accommodations  in  Gibraltar. 

—  A  Whimsical  Scene.  — Literature.  — Mr.  H— 55 


CHAPTER    IV. 

PASSAGE    UP    THE   MEDITERRANEAN. 

British  Packet.  —  Shore  of  Algiers.  —  Features  of  Sardinia.  —  Cagliari.  — 
Trapani.  —  Scenes  of  the  Vth  Book  of  the    iEneid.  —  The  ^gades. 

—  Pantellaria.  —  Second  View  of  its  Beauties.  —  Appearance  of  Goza. 

—  First  Glimpse  of  Malta.  —  Arrival  in  the  Grand  Harbour.  —  City 
and  Suburbs.  —  The  Parlatorio.  —  English  and  American  Flag-ships. — 
Ceremony  of  Hoisting  their  Colours.  —  Quarantine  Establishment  and 
Regulations.  —  Strictures. — Observations  on  Small  Pox.  —  Sketch  of  a 
Lazaretto.  —  Removal  to  La  Valetta 


CHAPTER    V, 

SI  A  L  T  A  . 

Aspect  of  the  City.  — Style  and  Material  of  Building.  —  Curious  Bal- 
conies.—  Condition  of  the  Inhabitants.  —  Peculiarities  of  Dress. — 
Sunday  in  Malta.  —  A  Caleche.  —  Excursion  to  St  Antonio.  —  Aque- 
duct, —  Maltese  Husbandry.—  Grand  Masters'  Garden.  —  Language  of  the 
Islanders.—  Specimens  of  Native  Poetry.  —  Rhodian  Families.  —  Cath- 
olic Churches.  —  Character  and  Influence  of  the  Clergy  —  Policy  of 
the  Government  5  Past  and  Present.  —  Spiritual  Courts.  —  Festival  in 
Honour  of  St  Paul.  —  Image  of  the  Saint.  —Thoughts  on  the  Effects  of  his 
Doctrine         ......•••      H^ 


CHAPTER    VI 


MALTA. 

Prosperity  of  Malta  under  the  Order  of  St  John.  —  Privileges  of  the 
People.  —  Testimony  of  the  Chevalier  De  Boisgelin.  —  Changes  wrought 
on  the   Face  of  the  Island.  —  Balance  of  Trade,  how  adjusted.  —  Soil,. 


CONTENTS.  XIX 

whence  obtained.  —  Retrospect  of  Rhodes.  —  Military  Erections.  —  Ge- 
neral Forecast  of  the  Order  ;  its  Valour. — Climate,  and  Fruits  of  the 
Season.  —  Inventive  Shifts  of  the  Inhabitants.  —  Marquis  of  Hastings. — 
Greek  Pirate.  —  English  Yacht.  —  Commerce  of  the  Port. — Visit  on 
Board  the  Revenge.  —  Treatment  of  Convicts.  —  Danger  in  Former 
Times  from  Captives.  —  A  Peep  Within  Doors  ;  Doings  Without.  — 
A  Maltese  Barber.  —  Beggars.  —  An  Anecdote 145 


CHAPTER    VII 


MALTA. 

Commodore  Rodgers.  —  Condition  of  the  North  Carolina.  —  Sentiments 
in  Malta.  —  Sir  H.  Neale's  Reply  to  Mr  Shaler.  —  Policy  towards 
the  Barbary  Powers.  —  Departure  of  the  Commodore.  —  St  John's  Cathe- 
dral. —  Relic  of  the  Saint.  —  Ceremonies  in  the  Days  of  the  Knights.  — 
Tomb  of  La  Valette.  —  Churches ;  Greek,  Catholic,  and  Protestant.  — 
Malta,  the  '  Eye  of  the  Mediterranean.'  —  Government  Library. — Mis- 
sionary Presses)  Labours,  Difficulties,  Prospects.  —  St  Paul's  Bay. — 
Vipers.  —  Citta  Vecchia.  —  Singular  Grotto.  —  Extraordinary  Catacombs. 
—  Distribution  of  the  Maltese  Population.  —  Project  of  Mulberry  Plan- 
tations.—  Geology  of  the  Island.  —  Ancient  Inundation.  —  Culture  of 
the  Fig.  —  Caprification.  —  Treading  the   Wine  Press  .         ,        .      181 


CHAPTER    VIII. 

MALTA. 

Catholic  Processions.  —  Government  Palace  5  Paintings.  —  Armoury  of 
the  Knights  ;  Trophies.  —  Giraffe.  —  Arrival  of  his  Majesty's  Ship 
Asia.  —  Egyptian  Mummy.  —  Burmola  and  Vittoriosa  j  St  Angelo.  — 
Opening  of  the  Carnival.  —  Second  Day  of  the  Sports.  —  Indulgences  ; 
Votive  Gifts.  —  Eurocljdon.  —  Conclusion  of  the  Carnival.  —  An  Inci- 
dent. —  Catastrophe.  —  Morning  Contemplations.  —  Hospitals.  —  House 
of  Industry.  —  Asylum  for  the  Poor.  —  Insane  Department.  —  Found- 
ling. —  Monte  di  Pieta.  —  Conservatorio.  —  Early  Marriages.  —  Monas- 
tic Vows.  —  Morals  of  the  Knights.  —  Customs.  —  Festivals.  —  St  Gre- 
gory   222 


XX  CONT.'DNTS. 


CHAPTER    IX. 

MALTA. 

University.  —  College  of  Priests.  —  Schools.  —  A  Protestant  Convert.  — 
Religious  Fanaticism.  —  Dr  Pinkerton  and  the  Bible  Society.  — 
Sinister  Influence  of  the  Government;  Causes.  —  British  Colonies. — 
Fate  of  the  Knights.  —  A  Motto.  —  Prospect  of  Mt.  ^tna  and  the 
Shore  of  Sicily.  —  Remarks  on  the  Phenomenon Penitential  Pilgri- 
mages. —  A  Parade.  —  Further  Observations  on  the  Appearance  of  iEtna. 

—  Prayers  and  Masses  for  the  Dead.  —  Air  of  Malta.  —  Domestic 
Items,  —  Invasion  of  the  Island  by  the  French.  —  Fleet  of  Buonaparte. 

—  Comparison  between  Hompesch  and  La  Valette.  —  Siege  by  the 
English.  —  Sufferings  of  the  Inhabitants.  —  Gen.  Vaubois.  —  Fall  of 
Malta.  —  Parting  Retrospect  ......      255 


CHAPTER    X. 

ARRIVAL    IN   SICILY. 

Departure    from    Malta.  —  Sicilian   Brigantine.  —  Regulations    on    Board. 

—  Cape  Passaro.  —  Superstition  of  the  Padrone.  —  Arrival  in  Syracuse. 

—  Reception  on  Shore.  —  Port  OfBcers.  —  A  Fellow  Lodger.  —  Accom- 
modations. —  Cathedral  Square.  —  General  View.  — Temple  of  Minerva. 

—  Museum. —  Ancient  Bath.  —  Fountain  of  Arethusa  ;  Modern  Nymphs. 

—  Alpheus.  —  Casino.  —  Country  Scenery.  —  Tomb  of  Archimedes.  — 
Street  of  Sepulchres.  —  Latomise. —  Ear  of  Dionysius.  —  Greek  The- 
atre.—  Amphitheatre.  —  Character  of  the  Old  Romans         .        .        .      281 


CHAPTER    XI. 

SYRACUSE. 

Antiquity  of  the  City. — Wastes  of  Mortality. — Descent  to  the  Cata- 
combs. —  Early  Usages  in  the  Disposal  of  the  Dead.  —  Remarkable 
Tomb.  —  Vespers,  —  Convent  and  Gardens  of  the  Capuchins.  —  Grave  of 
a  Duellist.  —  Evening  on  the  Sea-shore.  —  Fatal  Marshes.  —  Temple  of 
Jupiter  Olympius.  —  Encampment  of  Himilco,  —  Conquests  by  Timoleon 
and  Marcellus,  —  Ancient  Opulence  of  Syracuse.  —  Death  of  Archi- 
medes,—  River  Anapus.  —  Fountain  of  Cyane,  — Rape  of  Proserpine,  — 
Papyrus.  —  Second  Visit  to  the  Ear  of  Dionysius  3  a  Theory.  —  Ameri- 
can Cemetery.  —  Sicilian  Habitations,  —  Titles.  —  Political  Signs  3  A 
Contrast.  —  Stagnation  of  Trade.  —  Citizens 310 


CONTENTS.  XXI 


CHAPTER    XII. 

JOURNEY    TO   CATANIA. 

Preliminaries.  —  Last   View     of     Syracuse.  —  Suburban    Tombs.  —  Ani- 
mal Traits. — Augusta   and    Hybla.  —  Leontine    Fields.' — Sicilian   Inn. 

—  Aspect  of  the  Country.  —Olive  Groves  5  Vineyards.—  Rural  Economy. 

—  A  Ford.  —  Approach  to  Mt.  JEtna.  —  Magnifieence  of  the  Scenery. 

—  A  Meeting.  —  Entrance  to  Catania.  —  Former  Catastrophes  of  the 
City.  —  Present  Prosperity.  —  Streets  and  Piazza.  —  Lavas.  —  Eruption 
of  1669.  —  Sieste.  —  Travellers'  Annoyances.  —  Ancient  Theatres.  — 
Baths.  —  Publiclustitutions  .  .  .  .  .  .337 


CHAPTER    XIII. 

CATANIA. 

Benedictine  Monastery.  —  Grand  Organ.  —  Father  Emiliano.  —  Mendi- 
cant Orders.  —  Visit  from  a  Franciscan  ;  An  Appeal.  —  Free  Think- 
ers. —  Philosophy  vs.  Moses.  —  Inconclusive  Reasoning  on  the  Age  of 
Lavas.  —  Morbid  Fancies. —  A  Cottage  in  the  Country.  —  Local  Prefer- 
ences. —  Prince  of  Biscari's  Museum.  —  Statues  of  the  Gods  }  their  Con- 
dition. —  Monumental  Tablets.  — Varieties.  —  Cleopatra;  a  Criticism.  — 
Beauty  of  the  Catanians.  —  Cavalier- Servente.  —  Veils.  —  Obstacles  to 
the  Ascent  of  iEtna.  —  Catana  Antiqua,  —  Modern  Superstitions. — 
Jesuits'  Convent,  —  Nunnery  of  St  Benedict  3  Ceremonies.  —  Life  in  a 
Cloister.  —  Phases  of  the  Mountain.  —  Absurd  Divisions  of  the  Civil  Day. 
—  Ancient  Solarium  .......      362 


CHAPTER    XIV. 

MOUNT  ^TNA. 

Departure  from  Catania.  —  Lower  Region"  of  the  Mountain.  —  Change 
of  Climate.  —  Nicolosi.  —  Monte  Rosso.  —  Effects  of  Eruptions.  —  Mul- 
titude of  Extinguished  Craters.  —  Speculations  ;  Inferences.  —  Vastness 
of  Mount  iEtna.  —  Physical  Connexions.  —  Cabin  Fireside.  —  Sketches 
in  the  Forest.  —  Upward  Tour.  —  Volcanic  Lightning. — Gloomy  Pre- 
sages. —  Laboriousness  of  the  Ascent.  —  A  Tempest.  —  Flight  of  the 
Guide.  —  Perilous  Exposure.  —  Extrication.  —  Descent  to  the  Woody 
Zone.  —Return  to  Nicolosi.  —The  Philosophic  Brothers.  —  Departure 
for  Giarre.  —  Piedmontana.  —  ^tna  at  Day  Break,  —  Magnificence  of 
the  Sunrising.  —  Grandeur  of  the  Volcano  .  .  .  .391 


XXll  CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER    XV. 

JOURNEY    TO  MESSINA. 

Route    Resumed    from     Giarre.  —  Observations    on    MaParia.  —  Mascali. 

—  Fiume  Freddo.  —  Site  of  Naxos.  —  Giardini.  —  Taormina Features 

of  the  Scenery.  —  Highways  and  Byways.  —  A  Rencontre.  —  View 
of  Reggio.  —  Messina.  —  Retrospective  Survey.  —  Disappearance  of  Ban- 
ditti. —  A   Greeting.  —  Prospect  from  the  Marina.  — >City  and  Harbour. 

—  Commerce.  —  Nuns.  —  Cathedral  5  Epistle  Diplomatic.  —  Ride  to  the 
Faro.  —  Scylla  and  Charybdis.  —  Poetic  Fictions  ;  Analysis.  —  Present 
Phenomena  of  the  Straits.  —  Memorable  Incidents  in  the  Messineso 
Annals.  —  Earthquake  of  1783.  —  Field  of  its  Ravages.  —  M.  Dolomieu's 
Hypothesis  j  Application.  —  Preparations  for  Departure. —  Review  of  the 
Condition  of  Sicily. — Conclusion  .         .  .  .  .        .      421 

NOTES 461 


APPENDIX. 

No.    I.  —  Memoir    descriptive    of  the    Vegetation    of  certain  Plants    on 
Mount  iEtna  .....  ...      621 

No.     II.  —  Register    of    Observations     on    the     Temperature    of    the 
Ocean 527 


TRAVELS,    &c. 


CHAPTER   I. 

VOYAGE    TO    THE    STRAITS. 

Reflections  on  Departure. — Ocean  Scenery.  —  Thanksgiving  at  Sea.  —  Rough 
Gales.  —  Gulf  Stream  j  Speculations  on  its  Drift  and  Temperature.  —  In- 
habitants of  the  Deep.  —  Sea  Musings.  —  An  Invitation.  —  Discomforts  of  a 
Voyage.  —  Nautical  Anecdote.  —  The  Azores;  their  Aspect  and  Pheno- 
mena.—  Course  shaped  from  St  Michaels. — Thunder  Storm.  —  Approach  to 
Land.  —  Cape  Trafalgar.  —  Spanish  Coast.  —  African  Continent.  —  Sublimity 
of  Land  and  Sea  Views.  —  Appearance  of  Gibraltar.  —  Arrival.  —  Visits 
from  Shore. — Incidents.  —  Evening  on  board. 

On  Tuesday,  November  28,  1826,  the  vessel  wherein  I  had 
taken  passage  for  Gibraltar,  weighed  anchor,  and  set  sail  from 
Boston.  She  was  a  brig  of  considerable  burthen,  strongly 
built, — an  important  requisite  for  a  wintry  voyage, — and  carry- 
ing a  small  armament.  The  latter  was  a  precautionary  equip- 
ment, the  vessel  being  destined  to  proceed  from  the  Straits  to 
the  Cape  Verd  Isles,  and  thence,  to  a  port  in  Brazil.  The 
captain  was  obviously  at  home  on  the  deck  ;  and  besides  being 
reputed  a  good  officer,  was  civil  and  obliging.  The  voyage,  on 
the  whole,  promised  to  be  safe  and  tolerably  comfortable,  though 
it  might  prove  boisterous.  A  favorable  breeze  filled  our  sails, 
and  soon  the  goodly  spires  of  Boston  were  receding  from 
the  view. 

It  is  not  easy  to  describe  to  those  who  have  not  been  called 
to  the  trial,  the  painful  emotions  which,  in  a  bosom  of  common 
sensibility,  must  be  experienced  in  bidding  adieu  to  one's  home 
and  native  land,  though  for  an  anticipated  limited  period.  I 
had  many  such  feelings  to  contend  with ;  and  the  sadness  of 
1 


%  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

separation  from  the  friends  and  kindred  left  behind  me,  weighed 
heavily  on  my  heart. 

Ten  years  before,  I  had,  indeed,  left  the  paternal  roof,  and 
embarked  on  a  voyage  to  the  old  world,  both  to  prosecute  my 
studies  in  the  profession  to  which  I  had  been  devoted,  and  to 
visit  divers  cities  and  kingdoms.  It  was  painful  to  take  leave 
even  under  those  circumstances ;  but  the  youth,  barely  arrived 
at  the  last  term  of  his  minority,  feels  widely  different  from  the 
man,  when  ten  years  more  are  added  to  his  age.  To  the 
former,  the  many  flattering  pictures  of  hope,  and  the  visions  of 
a  vague,  but  romantic  and  delighted  anticipation  respecting  the 
countries  to  be  visited,  would  serve  to  alleviate  the  regrets  of 
leave-taking.  The  period,  however,  that  had  since  elapsed, 
had  greatly  chilled  the  ardor  of  such  feelings  and  day  dreams. 
What  sorrow  is.  I  had  then  scarcely  known ;  and  that,  not 
strictly  to  feel.  Since,  I  had  tasted  something  of  this  world's 
trials,  and  had  learned  their  heart-wearing,  dispiriting  and  ex- 
hausting influence.  Then,  I  was  going  to  set  foot,  first,  on  a 
soil  vv^hich  1  might,  in  some  sense,  call  my  own  ;  for  it  is  the 
soil  of  a  land  that  once  knew  the  homes,  and  still  embosoms 
the  sepulchres  of  my  forefathers.  I  was  going  to  England, — 
to  a  country,  '  high  and  palmy '  in  fame  and  greatness  ;  —  to  a 
people  with  whom  I  felt  some  congeniality,  —  a  people,  whom  I 
was  taught  to  regard,  as  no  less  free  than  brave,  no  less  intelli- 
gent and  high-minded  than  powerful.  And  whither  now  ?  To 
shores  fair  indeed,  and  decked  with  monuments  of  ancient  and 
modern  grandeur,  but  all  overshadowed  by  despotism  and  su- 
perstition ; — to  nations  sunk  in  political  abasement,  popular  igno- 
rance, and  lowest  degeneracy  of  morals.  And  when  the  coast 
of  my  native  state  was  fading  from  my  eye,  when  I  looked  on 
the  now  cold  and  bleak  hills,  the  bare  islands  and  leafless  forests 
around  ;  when  I  turned  on  the  one  hand  to  the  sedgy  sands  of 
Cape  Cod,  and  on  the  other,  to  the  rocky  barrier  of  Cape  Ann ; 
when  I  thought  of  the  hardy  and  virtuous  yeomanry  which 
Massachusetts  boasts,  with  spirits  free  as  the  keen  winds  which 
now  sweep  over  her  soil,  —  when  next  I  glanced  a  reflection  on 


REFLECTIONS  ON  DEPARTURE.  ii 

the  climes,  though  soft  and  beautiful,  whither  1  was  bound,  and 
the  moral  pestilence  that  breathes  over  them,  I  felt  the  power 
of  the  ties  which  bind  me  to  the  Land  of  the  Pilgrims,  and 
lifted  the  ejaculation  that  I  might  be  permitted  once  more  in 
safety  to  behold  it. 

But  there  was  another  and  more  painful  feeling  in  my  bosom, 
as,  at  this  time,  I  took  leave  of  home  and  of  country.  When 
before,  the  vessel  wherein  I  had  embarked  was  parting  her 
moorings  and  putting  forth  into  the  deep,  there  stood  one  upon 
the  pier  who  watched  my  departure,  I  well  knew,  with  a 
keenness  of  solicitude,  and  on  whose  form  I  gazed,  so  long  as 
that  form  could  be  distinguished,  with  every  sentiment  of  love, 
and  gratitude,  and  veneration.  It  was  a  father. His  con- 
cern for  my  welfare  had  then  saved  me  every  care.  It  had 
already  ensured  me  the  means  of  rational  enjoyment,  and  every 
desirable  facility  for  the  acquisition  of  the  objects  in  view  during 
the  contemplated  term  of  my  absence  ;  and  that  same  anxious 
affection  followed  me  with  a  parent's  blessing  whithersoever  J 
went.  But  he  was  now  no  more  :  —  and  when  with  the  sadness 
of  that  reflection,  I  considered  my  present  augmented  responsi- 
bleness,  through  the  ties  which  bound  me  to  surviving  relatives, 
I  almost  condemned  the  resolution  that  led  me  forth,  though  in 
quest  of  health,  amid  balmier  airs,  and  under  more  temperate 
suns,  to  mix,  as  a  solitary  stranger,  in  the  distant  stir  of  a  heart- 
less world.  Sleeping  or  waking,  the  images  of  the  friends  I 
had  left,  were  present  to  my  mind.  Once  in  a  dream,  mo- 
mentary but  vivid,  I  fancied  myself  returned  to  them,  and  that 
my  wanderings  were  over,  and  1  awoke  in  gladness.  But  it  was 
only  to  hear  the  plash  of  the  billows  without,  and  the  deep  mur- 
mur of  the  night  breeze  as  it  swept  through  the  rigging  of  the 
bark,  which  was  rapidly  bearing  me  away  from  home,  — '  sweet 
home,'  —  and  its  scenes. 

The  wind  continued  fresh  through  the  night,  occasionally 
blowing  in  heavy  flaws,  and  raising  a  considerable  swell.  By 
early  dawn,  the  land  was  wholly  shut  down,  and  left  many 
leagues  behind  us.     Going  upon  deck,  and  casting  a  first  glance 


VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 


to  the  West,  I  imagined  for  a  moment  that  I  espied  hills  edging 
the  horizon.  But  their  dark  forms  quickly  fell,  and  showed,  as 
others  arose,  that  they  were  but  watery  heaps.  I  looked  for 
other  objects.  Here  and  there  a  white  streak  was  discernible. 
Was  it  a  sail  ?  No ;  it  was  the  curling  crest  of  some  wave 
taller  than  its  fellows,  which  speedily  disappeared.  Not  a 
bird  flew ;  and  the  loneliness  of  the  scene  had  a  character  of 
impressiveness  and  solemnity. 

The  day  succeeding,  (Thursday,)  was  the  season  set  apart 
in  my  native  state  for  the  Festival  of  annual  Thanksgiving. 
Absence  from  the  pleasures  of  the  religious  and  social  meetings 
which  this  time-consecrated  anniversary  affords,  —  pleasures  so 
dear  from  the  influence  of  earliest  association  and  immemorial 
usage,  —  was  a  subject  of  natural  regret.  But  my  heart  was  with 
those  whose  praises  ascended  from  temples  to  the  same  adora- 
ble and  all-bountiful  Creator ;  and  in  thought,  1  mingled  with 
more  than  one  little  group,  which  subsequently  was  gathered  in 
cheerful  gratitude  around  the  festive  board.  It  was  pleasing  to 
observe  the  force  of  early  custom  and  attachments  derived  from 
the  '  Land  of  steady  habits,'  operating  among  hardy  tars.  The 
officers  and  crew  were  from  a  common  neighborhood,  a  small 
northern  port ;  and  with  due  subordination,  a  fellowship  of  kindly 
feeling  prevailed  among  them.  Although  circumstances  pre- 
cluded a  religious  service  during  the  earher  part  of  the  day, 
leisure  was  afforded  to  all ;  the  captain  moreover,  had  laid  in 
appropriate  stores  for  the  occasion.  Both  cabin  and  forecastle 
were  furnished  with  generous  cheer.  A  decorous  hilarity 
reigned  forward  ;  and  the  day  closed  in  with  mirthful  converse 
and  light-hearted  song. 

Dec.  2,  —  Evening.  —  For  the  last  two  days  we  have  been 
sailing  with  strong  and  prosperous  breezes,  but  which,  within  a 
few  hours  have  increased  to  fresh  gales.  The  heave  of  the  sea 
has  very  considerably  risen ;  and  this  evening,  some  water  having 
broke  into  the  cabin  through  the  windows,  the  dead-lights  have 
been  lashed  in.  This  is  seldom  a  pleasant  augury;  and  the  pros- 
pect without  is  not  the  most  cheerful.     The  night  is  moonless. 


ROUGH  GALES. 


The  clouds  are  unusually  heavy  and  black  ;  and  the  vessel,  as 
she  breasts  the  waves,  receives  ever  and  anon  a  heavy  beat  upon 
her  bows.  Yet  she  rushes  on  joyously  through  the  main,  with  the 
speed  of  the  fabled  sea-horse  ;  and  as  the  ocean  sparkles  with 
unusual  brightness  about  her  path,  she  seems  to  plough  her  way 
through  '  hail-stones  and  coals  of  fire.' 

Dec.  6.  —  After  the  disquietudes  of  a  heavy  gale,  I  resume 
my  pen.  —  On  the  evening  of  the  3d  instant,  everything  por- 
tended a  storm,  and  there  was  reason  to  fear  one  of  peculiar 
violence.  In  the  course  of  that  night,  orders  were  repeatedly 
issued  to  take  in  sail,  the  gale  every  half  hour  increasing  with 
perceptible  severity.  The  ensuing  day  brought  no  abatement. 
It  was  a  fixed  and  powerful  North-wester  ;  the  wind  at  times 
indeed,  lulling,  but  only  to  muster  strength,  and  shortly  to 
return  with  accumulated  vehemence,  bearing  with  it  showers  of 
rain  or  hail.  Fortunately,  it  blew  directly  in  our  favor.  There 
was  no  laying  to,  had  we  wished  it,  but  with  danger ;  and  after 
handing  all  our  sails  except  a  few  yards  of  canvass,  the  better 
to  keep  the  vessel  steady,  she  was  left  to  scud  before  the  storm. 
In  the  afternoon  of  the  4th,  the  power  of  the  gale  was  very 
great.  The  officers  and  hands  were  all  collected  on  the  quar- 
ter deck,  the  captain  himself  taking  the  helm,  and  three  men 
being  stationed  on  either  side  of  the  tiller  to  assist  him  in  turning 
it  as  he  gave  the  necessary  orders.  The  sounds  of  his  stentor 
voice  were  heard  amid  the  heavy  trampling  of  the  seamen,  the 
angry  dash  of  the  billows,  and  the  piping  of  the  storm.  The 
sea  continuing  to  make,  it  rolled,  towards  sunset,  in  dismal 
heaps.  It  was  the  crisis  of  the  gale,  as  in  the  evening  following 
it  partially  subsided.  Still,  through  all  that  night  and  the  next 
day  it  sped  from  the  same  steady  point,  with  blasts  of  piercing 
cold  ;  nor  was  it  till  this  morning  that  it  broke  and  gradually  fell. 
The  sea  did  not  so  soon  subside.  It  has  continued  through 
the  day  violently  agitating  the  vessel ;  the  more  so,  in  conse- 
quence of  a  breeze  springing  up  in  another  quarter,  and  pro- 
ducing a  counter  drift  to  the  waves,  the  effect  of  which  has 
been  exceedingly  unpleasant.* 

*  See  Note  1. 


0  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

No  one  can  know,  without  personal  experience,  the  in- 
conveniences of  a  storm  at  sea.  Aniong  the  troubles  may- 
be reckoned  the  unceasing  tossings  of  the  ship,  which  of 
course  prevent  everything  like  rest.  To  sit  up,  to  stand,  or 
to  walk  are  equally  out  of  the  question.  The  passenger  can 
neither  read  nor  write,  for  the  '  dead  lights '  are  in,  and 
he  must  take  to  his  berth  —  but  not  to  sleep.  He  is  thrown 
from  side  to  side  by  the  alternate  rollings  of  the  ship,  and 
sometimes  is  actually  in  danger  of  being  flung  from  his  cot. 
Much  as  he  may  try  to  brace  and  compose  himself  in  his  nar- 
row quarters,  he  will  find  it  all  in  vain.  Worn  and  exhausted, 
—  almost  dislocated  he  may  be,  —  still  no  slumber  will  visit  his 
eyes.  He  will  have  to  count  the  hours  of  the  livelong  night  as 
well  as  the  tedious  day ;  and  time  will  seem  to  creep  with  snail- 
like pace.  In  the  evening  he  will  say.  Would  it  were  morning ; 
and  in  the  morning  his  comfort  will  be  to  reverse  the  aspiration. 

Dec.  7.  —  We  are  now  in  the  Gulf  Stream.  We  had  touch- 
ed it  as  early  as  the  1st  inst.,  when  a  thermometer  immersed  in 
the  sea,  indicated  a  temperature  of  fifty  four  degrees,  which  was 
four  more  than  on  the  previous  day  at  the  same  hour.  Pursuing 
our  course,  a  daily  increase  has  been  remarked  in  the  warmth 
of  the  water  till  the  5th  inst.,  when  I  found  that  the  mercury  had 
risen  to  sixtyeight  degrees  exactly  and  there  it  has  stood.  Our 
place  at  present  is  lat.  38o  and  long.  43°  40'.  Now  that  at 
this  distance,  considering  the  long  course  which  the  stream  has 
run  from  its  leaving  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  to  the  Grand  Bank,  and 
thence  in  a  southeasterly  direction  hither,  —  a  distance  not  less 
than  twentytwo  hundred  English  miles,  —  it  should  retain  so 
high  a  temperature  is  quite  remarkable.  I  will  assume  its  warmth 
on  leaving  Cape  Florida  at  seventy  eight  degrees,  which  is  prob- 
ably near  the  truth ;  accordingly  in  all  this  long  run,  the  water  has 
lost  but  about  ten  degrees  of  heat ;  and  as  the  current  continues 
to  proceed  though  with  a  gradually  diffused  and  fainter  move- 
ment till  reaching  the  western  coast  of  the  African  continent, 
where,  falling  under  the  influence  of  the  trade  winds,  a  drift  again 
sets  forth  to  the   Gulf  of  Mexico,  to  traverse   in   the   same 


GULF  STJIEAM.  7 

appointed  course  its  path  through  the  Atlantic,  —  it  is  curious  to 
reflect  that  a  large  mass  of  the  self  same  waters  may  constantly 
revolve  in  this  vast  sweep  of  six  or  seven  thousand  miles,  and 
a  considerable  proportion  of  its  temperature,  acquired  under  the 
fervid  suns  of  the  South,  be  retained  through  the  residue  of 
its  mighty  circuit. 

The  distinct  existence  and  track  of  this  stream  across  the 
ocean,  must  account  for  the  phenomenon  of  the  sudden  disap- 
pearance of  the  icebergs  which  annually  come  down  from  the 
Arctic  seas  into  the  Atlantic.  I  say  sudden,  for  these  huge 
masses  are  regularly  found  to  proceed, — at  least  some  of  them 
each  year,  —  as  far  as  the  parallel  of  41°  North;  yet  none 
of  them  have  been  met  with  more  than  about  a  degree  farther 
South.  This  has  been  explained  by  some  on  the  supposed 
action  of  the  bottom  of  the  Grand  Bank,  presuming  that  the  tem- 
perature of  the  sea  over  it  is  higher  than  that  of  the  deep  ocean 
to  the  eastward.  Whereas  the  contrary  is  the  fact ;  rocks  and 
shoals  being  ascertained  to  be  conductors  of  the  warmth  of  their 
incumbent  waters,  and  it  being  found  by  actual  experiment,  that 
the  sea  over  the  Grand  Bank  is  twelve  or  fifteen  degrees  colder 
than  outside  of  it.  Here  then  is  no  sufficient  explanation  of  the 
fact  of  the  disappearance  of  the  islands  of  Arctic  ice  shortly  after 
their  reaching  the  fortyfirst  or  fortysecond  degree  of  north  lati- 
tude. Neither  can  a  change  of  climate,  a  higher  atmospheric 
temperature,  so  soon  after  leaving  the  southern  limb  of  the  Grand 
Bank  account  for  their  destruction.  The  true  cause  can  only  be 
their  coming  into  contact  with  the  waters  of  the  Gulf  Stream, 
which  would  require  but  a  short  time  to  dissolve  them.  Were 
it  not  for  this  operation,  these  formidable  impediments  to  navi- 
gation would  be  found  many  degrees  farther  south,  and  perhaps, 
here  and  there,  over  the  whole  North  Atlantic  the  year  through. 
For  these  ices  being  oftentimes  of  immense  bulk  and  extent, 
and  the  temperature  of  the  broad  ocean  but  slightly  vary- 
ing, —  nay,  that  temperature  immediately  around  these  bodies,  as 
well  as  the  air  to  a  considerable  extent,  being  found  to  be  uni- 
formly reduced  by  their  presence  and  power  of  condensation, 


8  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

frequently  not  less  than  fourteen  degrees,  —  it  would  obviously 
take  a  long  period  for  such  unwieldy  masses  to  melt  and  be 
destroyed.  Hence  one  benefit,  and  that  a  no  small  one,  results 
to  mariners  from  the  influence  of  the  Gulf  Stream,  to  coun- 
terbalance the  eternal  fogs,  and  rains,  and  squalls,  the  thunder 
gusts  and  hail  storms,  which  envelop  and  track  this  almost 
Stygian  current  from  the  shore  of  Florida  to  the  Azores.  ^ 

Dec.  8.  —  Nothing  material  has  occurred  since  yesterday. 
The  weather  has  been  comparatively  moderate,  approaching, 
during  the  night,  for  the  first  time  since  our  weighing  anchor,  to 
a  calm.  A  number  of  flying  fish  sported  last  night  around  the 
vessel,  one  of  which  leaped  on  board  and  was  taken.  He  was 
about  as  large  as  an  alewife.  This  morning  he  was  served  at 
breakfast  and  found  quite  palatable.  In  the  taste  of  the  food 
there  was  nothing  peculiar.  . 

In  sailing  over  these  vast  watery  tracts  the  wonder  arises,  why 
the  inhabitants  of  the  deep  do  not  pay  us  more  frequent  visits, 
or  at  least,  do  not  oftener  exhibit  themselves  ?  It  is  rare  that  we 
are  favored  with  a  glimpse  of  any.  Occasionally  a  shoal  of 
porpoises  or  of  blackfish  is  seen  ;  a  whale  more  rarely  just  shows 
himself  and  spouts.  In  a  smooth  sea  the  pilot-fish,  satellites  of 
the  shark,  appear,  but  seldom.  Now  and  then,  even  in  the 
roughest  weather,  the  tiny  nautilus  spreads  its  graceful  sail,  and 
just  under  the  surface  of  the  blue  main  the  dolphin  perhaps 
displays  his  brilliant  dyes.  Yet  sometimes,  for  the  livelong 
day  not  a  creature  is  discerned  ;  and  saving  our  little  floating 
abode,  all  around  is  one  vast  solitude. 

If,  however,  'full  many  a  gem  '  is  produced  in  the  *  dark  un- 
fathomed  caves '  beneath  us,  why  not  many  an  animal  of  un- 
known and  unconceived  species  and  forms?  Is  it  probable  that 
one  of  a  hundred,  nay,  a  thousand  of  the  classes  of  beingswhich 
people  this  abyss,  has  ever  appeared  to  the  eye  of  man  ?  When 
we  consider  the  depths  of  the  sea  which,  though  not  strictly 
bottomless,  nevertheless  descend,  it  is  probable,  as  far  below  the 
surface,  as  terrestrial  mountains  rise  above  it,  —  islands  in  oceans 
being  themselves  but  the  peaks  or   table-lands  of  submarine 


INHABITANTS  OF  THE  DEEP.  9 

mountains,  —  how  vast  are  the  spaces  capable  of  affording  ac- 
commodation and  nourishment  to  innumerable  races  of  ani- 
mals I  And  if  but  the  surface  of  the  earth  teems  with  life,  would  it 
be  consistent  with  rational  views  of  the  analogies  of  Providence  to 
suppose  that  the  ocean  realms  are  not  proportionably  filled, — 
especially  when  it  is  computed  that  three  fifdis  of  the  superficies 
of  the  globe  are  covered  with  water  ?  It  must  surely  therefore  be 
idle  to  refuse  assent  to  accounts  of  the  appearance  of  any  new 
monster  of  the  deep,  if  authenticated  by  credible  witnesses,  sim- 
ply because  such  a  creature  was  never  before  beheld.  The  time 
has  gone  by,  indeed,  when  stories  of  outre  monsters,  discovered 
in  distant  lands,  such  as  unicorns,  dragons,  or  similar  heteroclites, 
can  longer  hope  for  credit.  And  why?  Because  aside  from 
their  palpable  absurdity,  the  terrestrial  world  has  been  pretty 
thoroughly  explored ;  and  the  many  prodigies  related  by  over 
credulous  travellers,  the  Major  Longbows  of  former  times,  are 
now  properly  classed  with  '  old  wives'  fables.  But  not  so  with 
the  marvels  of  the  mighty  deep.  Who  has  descended  to  explore 
its  abyss,  or  muster  and  enrol  its  tenants  ?  What  second  Adam 
has  summoned  them,  and  at  the  call  they  have  come  and  re- 
ceived names  from  him  ?  Yet  should  a  native  from  our  Northern 
shore  so  much  as  hint  his  belief  in  the  existence  of  a  sea- 
serpent,  he  might  very  soon  see  cause  to  repent  his  incautiousness 
by  the  jeers  he  would  have  to  encounter.  He  might  plead  his 
innocence  of  intentional  heresy,  and  demand  what  established 
principle  of  faith  he  subverted  by  affirming  what  his  own  eyes 
beheld,  eyes  ever  wakeful  to  a  phenomenon  because  familiar 
with  all  the  usual  appearances  upon  the  seas.  As  a  landsman, 
especially,  I  am  sensible  of  running  no  little  hazard  in  inti- 
mating an  impression  that  a  huge  aquatic  animal,  and  perhaps 
more  than  one  of  the  species,  has  actually,  of  late  years, 
visited  the  coast  of  New-England,  which,  though  if  drawn  from 
the  water  and  subjected  to  accurate  view,  might  not  be  found  to 
be  exactly  of  a  serpent  form,  would  yet  prove  as  wonderful  a 
creature  and  as  much  a  stranger  to  our  shores  as  Leviathan  or 
Behemoth. 

2 


10  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

Dec.  9.  —  For  want  of  other  matters  of  interest,  I  resume  my 
notes.  —  I  perceive  on  looking  back  to  some  of  my  observations 
of  yesterday,  that  I  assumed  the  profound  of  the  ocean,  at  least 
without  the  polar  circles,  to  be  a  fluid  mass.  Is  it  so  ?  That 
notion  has  been  questioned  and  denied.  What  opinion,  by  the 
way,  has  not  ?  It  has  6een  asserted  that  water  in  its  natural  state 
is  frozen,  that  everything  which  can  be  made  liquid  by  the 
communication  of  heat  will  return  to  a  solid  by  its  withdraw" 
ment,  and  hence  the  perpetual  congelation  of  the  sea  around 
the  poles. 

Then  it  has  been  reasoned,  that  the  heat  of  the  sun  on  the 
surface  of  the  globe  being  limited,  and  as  it  penetrates  the  latter 
growing  gradually  weaker,  a  point  there  must  be  w^here  the  in- 
fluence of  the  solar  rays  ceases.  It  is  next  queried,  May  we  not 
suppose  a  depth  where  the  temperature  of  the  sea  is  below  thirty- 
two  degrees ;  and  must  not  its  bottom  then  be  ice  ?  —  Unhappily 
for  the  argument,  the  experiments  of  Count  Rumford  have  shown 
that  ice  always  forms  at  the  surface  of  water,  and  could  it  by  any 
means  be  once  produced  at  the  bottom  of  the  ocean  it  must,  on 
simple  physical  reasons  which  he  has  indicated,  begin  to  thaw 
whenever  the  surface  possesses  a  temperature  not  less  than  forty 
degrees.  For  then  warm  currents  would  descend,  and  cold  ones 
rise.  Ice  therefore,  saving  to  a  certain  extent  within  the  polar 
regions,  cannot  exist  at  the  bottom  of  the  ocean. 

Besides,  granting  the  influence  of  the  sun's  rays  on  the  earth 
to  be  limited,  and  that  the  warmth  they  communicate  does  not 
reach  below  a  given  line  in  the  interior,  is  there  no  internal  heat 
which,  acting  upwards,  may  temper  the  waters  of  the  sea  ?  Are 
there  no  subterranean  fires  exerting  such  an  effect  j  —  no  maga- 
zines of  heat  lodged  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  and  operating 
by  an  agency  powerful  and  permanent  ?  Look  to  the  many  vol- 
canoes throughout  the  globe,  and  the  showers  and  rivers  of  fire 
which  they  disgorge,  and  let  them  furnish  a  reply.  Perhaps  I 
dwell  too  long  upon  this  topic  ;  but,  I  confess,  setting  aside  every 
philosophic  consideration,  I  have  another  interest  in  the  matter. 
It  is  not  pleasant  to  have  one's  early  notions  crossed  by  tliis 


SEA  MUSINGS.  1  I 

chilling  doctrine  of  an  icy  substratum  to  the  waters  of  old  ocean ; 
to  be  taught  that  the  '  caves,'  which  the  muse  of  Gray  has  con- 
structed beneath  the  briny  floods,  have  no  real  locality  ;  and  that 
those  other  beautiful  poetic  creations,  —  the  Mermaid's  cells,  the 
Triton's  halls,  and  the  Sea  Nymphs'  coral  bowers  are  built  not 
in  the  green,  grassy  hyaline,  but  among  excavations  from 
layers  of  everlasting  ice.  If  such  be  their  homes,  farewell  ye 
visions  of  fancy ! 

But  a  soberer  subject  of  contemplation  forces  itself  upon  my 
mind.  In  pursuing  our  voyage,  over  how  many  wrecks  deep 
buried  beneath  the  waves  may  we  unconsciously  sail !  Here  and 
there  are  engulfed  the  remains  of  precious  cargoes,  —  tributes 
from  the  wealth  of  richest  climes.  The  storms  which  agitate 
the  surface  of  the  deep  cannot  reach  the  tranquil  floods  which 
embosom  them.  The  land-wrecker  comes  not  nigh  to  glut  his 
cupidity  with  those  spoils.  Their  riches  shall  never  be  uncov- 
ered to  pamper  the  luxury  or  satiate  the  avarice  of  man. 

Nor  does  reflection  pause  here.  Deep  down  in  these  floods, 
—  were  but  their  watery  sepulchres  disclosed,  — how  numerous 
the  human  forms  might  we  find,  —  forms,  once  active  and  robust, 
of  those  who  in  the  midst  of  health,  and  strength,  and  usefulness, 
of  the  love  of  life  and  susceptibility  to  its  enjoyment,  sunk  into 
the  dark  and  yawning  abyss.  They  left  kindred  and  country 
high  in  hope,  fearless  of  evil,  confident  of  a  safe  return,  of  the 
sweets  once  more  of  kindly  greetings  and  the  renewal  of  inter- 
course with  the  friends  and  relatives  they  bade  an  adieu  to. 
But  the  decree  had  gone  forth  —  the  voyage  of  life  was  sooner 
to  conclude ;  and  those  eyes,  which  at  parting  sparkled  with 
love  and  hope,  were  destined  never  more  to  look  upon  country, 
on  friends  or  the  domestic  abode.  Under  these  floods  lie  some 
whom  once  I  knew.  Alas,  what  were  their  sensations  at  the 
moment  of  being  finally  whelmed  !  How  did  the  thought  of 
home  and  its  loved  inmates,  —  that  home  and  those  inmates  no 
more  to  be  beheld,  —  rush  with  anguish  to  their  hearts  !  How 
cruel,  perhaps,  they  deemed  their  lot !  Bitterly  they  may  have 
deplored    that  love    of  gain  or  zest  for    novelty   which  had 


12  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

impelled  them  to  forego  the  calmer  pleasures  and  pursuits  where- 
in they  were  nurtured,  and  to  encounter  the  perils  ever  incident 
to  exposure  on  the  mighty  waters.  The  wave  which,  in  the  midst 
of  their  poignant  reflections,  swept  them  forever  away  from  life 
and  its  consciousness,  was  sent  in  mercy  to  abridge  the  pangs  of 
their  breasts.  They  '  sleep  on  now  and  take  their  rest ; '  and  let 
me  hope  that  beyond  the  waves  of  a  changeful  world  their 
spirits  have  reached  an  haven  on  those  peaceful  and  happy  shores 
where  sorrow,  and  fear,  and  death  can  no  more  come.  ^ 

Dec.  12,  Ten  P.  M.  By  our  reckoning  we  were  up  last 
evening  with  the  meridian  of  the  most  westerly  of  the  Azores, 
namely,  the  isles  of  Corvo  and  Flores ;  but  being  considerably 
to  the  southward,  we  did  not  see  them.  We  had  thus  run 
forty  degrees  of  longitude,  and  somewhat  more  than  five  of 
latitude,  in  thirteen  days,  making  a  distance  of  upwards  of  two 
thousand  miles  English.  Light  and  baffling  winds  having  since 
occurred,  we  have  proceeded  scarce  a  degree  farther  east.  We 
perceive  an  agreeable  alteration  in  the  climate.  The  two  last 
days  have  been  beautiful ;  and  though,  on  this  we  have  not 
made  our  usual  progress,  the  mild  and  pleasant  weather  which  has 
smiled  upon  us,  has  made  sufficient  amends.  The  air  to-day 
has  had  a  vernal  softness,  breathing  from  isles  which  are  visited 
with  perpetual  spring.  At  eight,  this  morning,  the  mercury  in 
a  thermometer  suspended  at  my  berth-head,  stood  at  seventy 
degrees.  It  is  pleasing  to  find,  too,  the  temperature  of  the  waters 
reduced,  no  less  than  five  degrees,  within  three  days.  It  is  an 
indication  that  we  are  disengaging  ourselves  from  the  influence 
of  the  Gulf  Stream,  its  course,  from  about  this  quarter,  being 
considerably  deflected,  and  taking  a  more  southerly  direction. 
The  sun  went  down  this  evening  with  great  beauty  ;  and  after  the 
colors  had  partially  faded  with  which  its  lingering  light  decked 
the  horizon,  a  star  of  exquisite  lustre,  —  need  I  name  that  star  ? 
appeared  above  the  drapery  of  clouds  which  skirted  that  portion 
of  the  heavens.  As  twilight  withdrew,  the  moon,  near  her  full, 
beamed  forth  from  her  mantle  of  silvery  clouds,  and  the  ocean, 
eastward,  is  now  brightened  with  the  radiance  which  she  sheds. 


A  COLLOaUY.  13 

It  is  perfectly  comfortable  to  walk  the  deck  at  this  hour,  without 
an  extra  coat,  and  I  have  just  descended  from  viewing  the  still 
loveliness  of  the  evening. 

Such  a  day  and  evening  might  seemingly  reconcile  the  most 
fastidious  or  reluctant  voyager,  to  the  endurances  of  a  sea- 
passage.  But  this  is  not  exactly  the  effect  upon  myself.  I  do 
not  feel  sufficiently  domesticated  upon  a  watery  element  ;  and 
great  as  may  be  the  beauties  or  sublimities  of  an  ocean  scene,  a 
ship's  deck  would  not  be  the  place  I  should  select  for  the  mere 
purpose  of  enjoying  them.  I  know  not  how  I  may  intelligibly 
explain  this  to  one,  who,  judging  from  the  frequency  of  Adantic 
voyages,  the  skill  with  which  our  ships  are  navigated,  the  rarity 
of  serious  accidents,  and  the  provision  made  for  the  comfort 
of  passengers,  may  imagine  a  trip  like  the  present,  reasonably 
secure  and  agreeable.    But  come,  some  one  of  you  whom  I  love ; 

come,  bonnie ,  from  your  distant  home,  and  walk  with 

me  above,  and  look  abroad  on  the  scene  here  displayed.  See 
the  vessel  gliding  gently  along  the  waters,  and  making  her  liquid 
path  through  waves  silvered  and  glittering  with  the  moon's  beams. 
Is  that  a  pleasant  spectacle  ?  But  would  you  not  enjoy  it  with 
more  perfect  tranquillity  were  your  pretty  feet  to  press  the  solid 
land  than  this  undulating  deck  ?  Is  it  delightful  to  mark  the 
waves  as  they  peacefully  divide,  nay,  as  they  seem  to  rise  and 
kiss  that  prow  which  furrows  a  passage  through  them? — 
*  Treacherous  waves,'  would  you  not  say;  'I  distrust  even 
your  present  pacific  mood,  and  know  that  your  power,  awful  as 
it  is,  is  only  in  a  state  of  temporary  repose  ! '  —  Do  you  love 
these  breezes,  which  play  and  wanton  among  your  ringlets,  and 
fan  the  roses  which  freshen  upon  your  cheeks  ?  How  know 
you  but  that  these  soft  winds  may  not  swell  this  night  into  furi- 
ous gales,  and  wreck  and  whelm  the  bark  which  bears  you  ? 
You  gaze  on  the  beauty  of  yonder  clouds,  and  note  them 
awhile  enshrining,  as  in  a  radiant  car,  the  Queen  of  night,  and 
anon,  seemingly  pausing,  as  she  steps  forth  into  the  clear  blue 
firmament,  walking  in  her  brightness.  Those  clouds  can  array 
themselves  in  blackness,  and  at  the  bidding  of  the  Ruler  of  the 


1  4  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

Storm,  would  suddenly  enwrap  the  fair  orb  you  contemplate, 
and  sweep  fearfully  over  the  darkened  face  of  the  heavens, 
'  making  night  hideous.'  Still  is  the  present  scene,  think  you, 
intrinsically  sublime  ?  Look  around  you,  survey  the  whole,  and 
stretch  your  eye  into  the  dark  background  of  trackless  waters. 
Is  there  not  a  solemnity  in  their  shades  ?  Mark  the  extent,  so 
seemingly  boundless  ; —  reflect  on  the  depth  confessedly  fathom- 
less, of  these  now  serene  floods.  Contemplate  your  own 
solitariness,  —  cut  off,  for  a  season,  from  the  world  of  mankind, 
and  from  every  tie  which  binds  you  to  social  life,  beyond  the 
little  company  within  the  frail  vessel  in  which  you  sail.  Say 
then,  sublime  if  your  impressions  be,  are  they  not  to  a  certain 
degree  painful  ?  Do  they  not  in  part  oppress  you  ? — You 
imagine  perchance,  that  the  cheering  light  of  day  might  dispel 
your  gathering  gloom.  Would  you  behold  then  the  sun,  rising 
from  this  world  of  waters,  and  beaming  forth  from  under  a 
glorious  canopy  of  clouds  ?  But  list ; — should  you  not  prefer 
to  look  upon  it,  as  often  you  have  done,  from  the  iron-bound 
margin,  the  everlasting  rocky  wall  of  your  own  native  strand, — 
that  adamantine  barricade,  which  sets  bars  and  doors  to  the 
surges  of  the  sea  ; — would  you  not,  I  repeat,  rather  gaze  thence, 
upon  the  glories  of  the  morning  sun,  as  it  comes  up  from  the 
bosom  of  the  deep,  than  with  the  unsolid  and  rolling  foothold 
you  would  alone  have  here?  And  from  the  quiet  of  that 
retreat,  where  now  you  are,  not  in  fancy  as  here,  but  with  a 
personal  presence,  can  you  not,  as  you  view  the  dawning  splen- 
dors of  that  magnificent  luminary,  think  with  a  deeper,  because 
a  more  composed  reverence,  on  the  power  and  adorable 
excellence  of  that  Being,  who  formed  it  ?  And  can  you  not, 
afFectingly  conceive,  of  the  awful  displays  of  the  Creator's  might 
upon  the  ocean's  wastes,  when  He  makes  the  clouds  his  chariot, 
and  '  His  pavilion  is  dark  waters  and  thick  clouds  of  the  sky  ?' 
Tempt  not  then  these  sleeping  waves,  but  rejoice  in  an  asylum 
on  a  stabler  element. 

But  stay  ;  I  must  not  overlook  another  class  of  persons  who 
doubtless  would  have  no  sympathy  with  the  feelings  1  have 


DISCOMFORTS  AT  SEA.  15 

attempted  to  portray,  in  whose  eyes  they  might  seem  as  weak- 
nesses, and  in  whose  bosoms,  neither  a  sentiment  of  awe,  nor 
chastened  fear  in  contemplating  the  mighty  deep,  could  find  a 
place.  Well  then,  my  friend,  you  would  fancy  a  sea-voyage,  — 
nothing  better  to  your  taste  ?  Is  it  so,  good  sir  ?  Allons  ;  and 
enjoy  the  comforts  of  your  new  situation.  As  you  have  no 
fears  of  the  effects  of  squalls  and  storms,  I  shall  say  nothing  in 
your  ear  of  the  inconveniences,  much  less  the  possible  mishaps, 
arising  in  those  quarters.  To  proceed  then ;  —  all  is  quiet 
without,  we  will  suppose.  You  go  upon  deck,  be  it  morning 
or  noon-day,  and  if,  but  the  first  edge  of  the  novelty  of  obser- 
vation be  worn  off,  an  inveterate  listlessness  you  will  feel. 
Much  the  same  dull  monotonous  existence  you  must  lead,  from 
day  to  day  ;  and  much  the  same  insipid  uniformity  of  avocations 
you  will  mark  in  others  about  you.  The  men,  you  will  find, 
for  the  most  part,  engaged  in  a  stated  routine  of  duty ;  and, 
were  it  otherwise,  what  intellectual  communion  could  you  hold 
with  such  ?  But  your  friend  is  with  you  :  —  Sickness,  or  that 
inevitable  squeamishness  incident  to  a  first  voyage,  has  tamed 
his  mood,  and  yours  too,  my  friend,  give  me  leave  to  suspect. 
Food  can  excite  little  relish ;  sleep  will  often  fly  from  your 
eyelids,  even  when  most  earnestly  you  woo  it  ;  and  utterly  un- 
fitted, confess  sir,  do  you  not  find  yourself,  to  all  serious  mental 
occupation  ?  Would  you  exercise  ?  You  then,  by  experience 
learn,  that  you  are  truly  imprisoned,  and  destitute,  of  so  much 
as  tlie  liberty  of  the  yard.  Some  twenty  paces  or  less,  from  the 
tiller  rope  to  the  windlass,  form  your  entire  promenade.  You 
are  surrounded  too,  with  pigs  and  with  poultry,  who  are  equally 
with  yourself,  privileged  to  stray  upon  the  decks,  else,  if  cooped 
up,  they  might  sicken  and  die.  You  are  assailed  also  with  a 
compound  of  heterogeneous  scents,  not  the  most  grateful  to  a 
slippery  appetite.  You  endure  all  this,  I  hope,  with  philosophic 
fortitude.  But  no ;  I  perceive  that  you  give  in.  You  hie  back 
to  the  cabin,  perhaps  to  immure  yourself  in  your  state-room  ;  — 
and  what  there  ?  Would  you  write  ?  The  ship  rolls.  Would 
you  read  ?     Your  head  aches. 


16  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

Dec.  14.  —  Since  my  last  date,  we  have  had  a  continuance 
of  mild  vernal  weather.  The  thermometer  shaded,  on  deck, 
has  ranged  as  high  as  seventy  degrees ;  and,  in  place  of  furs  and 
flannels,  top-coats,  woollen  gloves,  and  moccasins,  with  which 
I  emharked  duly  provided,  (the  very  thought,  as  well  as  sight 
of  which,  now,  almost  makes  me  perspire,)  a  portion  of  light 
apparel  has  become  quite  acceptable.  As  an  offset  to  the 
pleasure  of  this,  we  have  been  becalmed  ;  or  the  little  air  which 
has  stirred,  has  breezed  against  us.  The  surface  of  the  water 
wears  a  glassy  smoothness,  and  the  ocean,  on  every  hand, 
stretches  into  a  boundless  plane. 

Early,  the  last  evening,  a  passing  cloud  sprinkled  a  few  drops, 
and  as  it  drifted  by,  and  finally  hung  in  the  west,  the  moon 
painted  a  bow  upon  it.  It  was  quite  distinctly  formed,  and 
though  pale,  was  beautiful.  It  was  the  first  lunar  bow  which  I 
recollect  to  have  seen.  ^ 

The  flying  fish  still  visit  us.  For  want  of  better  variety,  I 
am  disposed  to  make  the  most  of  these  sportive  creatures.  I 
have  been  surprised  at  the  length  of  time  during  which  they  can 
keep  upon  the  wing.  Some  of  them  have  flown,  or  more 
properly  skimmed,  at  least  one  hundred  and  fifty  yards,  ere 
dipping  beneath  the  wave,  to  prepare  for  a  fresh  sp#iip^-They 
bear  the  same  relation  to  the  finny  tribes,  that  the  flying  squirrel 
holds  to  the  quadruped.  It  is  not  always  that  their  flight  indi- 
cates a  very  sportive  mood  in  the  little  creatures  themselves. 
They  have  a  most  cruel  persecutor  in  the  dolphin.  It  is  easy 
to  determine  when  they  are  flying  from  their  foe,  by  the  fre- 
quency, and  seeming  desperateness  of  their  leaps ;  and  if  so 
remote  an  allusion  may  be  pardoned,  not  Atys,  hasting  from  the 
lions  of  Cybele,  was  doomed  to  a  surer  fate,  than  that  which 
awaits  one  of  these  poor  innocents,  from  its  inexorable  pursuer. 
With  an  eye  and  a  resolution,  from  which  nothing  can  divert, 
the  fleet  dolphin  follows  in  its  track.  He  marks  the  spot  of  its 
probable  descent,  and  darts  thither  with  jaws  gaping  to  devour. 
If  the  fugitive  escapes  for  a  few  courses,  it  is  only  to  obtain  a 
reprieve  of  its  doom ;    and  the  race  terminates,  as  might  be 


NAUTICAL  ANECDOTE.  17 

anticipated  from  such  fearful  odds,  in  its  becoming  a  prey  to 
its  remorseless  enemy. 

In  my  idle  hours,  —  and  in  good  sooth  they  are  not  a  few,  — 
I  have  been  considerably  entertained  with  some  of  the  Captain's 
narratives.  One  of  them  is  given  as  a  specimen. — Inquiring 
of  him  a  morning  or  two  ago,  how  small  a  vessel  he  had  known 
to  navigate  the  ocean,  on  a  voyage  of  much  extent  and  expo- 
sure ^  He  informed  me,  that  being  at  Hayti,  a  few  years 
since,  a  smack  arrived  there,  of  the  chebacco  boat  class,  from 
one  of  our  Eastern  ports.  Her  rate  was  but  fifteen  tons,  and 
she  was  freighted  miscellaneously,  as  was  natural,  coming  from 
the  Land  of  Notions,  being  stuffed  to  the  brim  with  pork,  lard, 
cheese,  butter,  flour,  fish,  apples,  and  pumpkins.  She  had 
performed  a  voyage  of  seventeen  hundred  miles.  Her  company 
consisted  of  a  master,  mate,  one  hand,  and  a  boy.  But  the 
captain,  after  his  arrival  in  Hayti,  did  not  disguise  his  convictions, 
that  he  had  undertaken  too  much.  He  confessed,  that  on 
stretching  out  into  the  blue  main,  and  encountering  the  heavy 
swell,  as  ever  and  anon  a  wave  would  break  over  his  frail 
shallop,  his  courage  quailed  5  and  were  it  not  for  the  rare  cool- 
ness of  his  coadjutors,  especially  the  single  tar,  —  an  old 
fisherman,  who  knew  not  what  fear  was,  —  he  had  despaired 
of  ever  bringing  his  vessel  into  port.  Her  waist  was  almost 
constantly  under  water,  and  even  the  deck  aft  was  frequently 
washed  by  a  wave.  The  fisherman  however,  mounted  his 
huge  boots,  and  with  the  aid  of  '  good  New  England,'  stood 
manfully  at  the  helm,  occasionally  relieved  by  the  mate,  who, 
if  he  did  not  step  into  his  shoes,  always  took  possession,  during 
his  tick,  of  what  served  him  a  much  better  turn,  —  the  standing 
jack-boots.  Meanwhile,  it  was  the  chief  office  of  the  captain 
to  keep  watch  forward,  which  it  seems  he  did,  with  no  little 
personal  jeopardy,  for  he  clung  like  a  leech  to  the  foremast. 
Happily  he  preserved  the  respect  due  to  his  station,  by  the 
reverence  which  his  companions  had  of  his  faculty  of  taking 
the  sun  ;  and  daily,  at  meridian,  he  would  display  his  quadrant, 
and  while  half  drowned,  and  clinging  for  his  life  to  his  wonted 
3 


18  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

hold,  would  peep  through  the  reflectors,  and  then  report  to  his 
comrades,  or  perhaps  give  a  satisfactory  guess,  what  progress 
they  had  made  within  the  last  day's  run.  — The  issue  of  the 
homeward  voyage  was  not  told. 

Dec.  18.  —  On  the  morning  of  the  16th,  our  helmsman 
called  out  '  Land  ! '  To  one  at  sea,  such  a  sound  may  be 
presumed  to  be  always  agreeable  ;  and  on  the  present  occasion 
it  dropped  even  from  the  rough  voice  of  a  sailor,  like  music 
upon  my  ear.  The  land  proved  to  be  Fayal,  but  at  a  great 
distance  ahead,  probably  twentyfive  or  thirty  miles.  Two  or 
three  hours  after,  other  land  was  discovered,  still  farther  east, 
which  from  its  position  we  knew  to  be  Pico.  Its  lofty  peak 
was  shrouded  in  thick  mists.  We  bore  down  towards  these 
islands  with  a  good  breeze,  but  we  found  a  strong  current 
making  against  us.  The  log  marked  seven  knots  per  hour ; 
but  from  this,  we  had  to  throw  out  full  two  and  an  half,  reduc- 
ing the  hourly  distance  actually  gained,  to  four  and  a  half 
nautical  miles.  We  did  not  pass  Pico  till  ten  o'clock  in  the 
evening.  The  next  forenoon  we  made  St  Michaels,  and  were 
abreast  of  it  at  nightfall.  It  was  to  be  seen  very  plainly  to- 
day, till  about  eleven,  A.  M.  when  it  was  enfolded  in  gathering 
clouds  and  disappeared. 

There  is  something  exhilarating  in  the  sight  of  land,  though 
in  this  passing  way.  It  wears  to  the  voyager  a  friendly  look, 
and  seems  to  reconnect  him  once  more  with  earth.  I  had 
a  strong  wish  to  set  foot  upon  these  islands,  and  was  almost 
tempted  to  regret  that  they  were  not  my  destination. 

We  did  not  sail  near  enough  to  observe  very  clearly,  their 
beauties.  Yet  there  was  much  that  was  picturesque  in  their 
aspect.  Their  sombre  forms  exhibited  peculiarly  broken  and 
rugged  outlines,  from  most  of  the  positions  whence  we  viewed 
them.  The  whole  sufficiently  denoted  the  volcanic  power, 
which,  if  not  the  mighty  agent  in  their  production,  has  never- 
theless wrought  upon  them  some  of  its  grandest  operations. 
St  Michaels,  when  bearing  southwest  from  us,  resembled  a 
truncated  cone  —  its  slopes  very  rough,  and  the  rim  of  its  broad 


THE  AZORES.  19 

summit  jagged  with  round  or  pointed  prominences.  Previously, 
we  had  crossed  near  the  site  of  the  extraordinary  volcanic 
eruption  which  burst  from  the  sea,  so  late  as  the  year  1811. 
Successive  streams  of  fire  are  reported  to  have  then  shot  up  from 
the  deep,  and  the  flames  to  have  risen  into  the  air  like  a  multi- 
tude of  sky-rockets,  with  the  usual  accompaniments  of  smoke, 
ashes,  and  pumice.  Eruptions,  still  more  powerful,  have 
occurred  in  the  neighboring  waters,  followed  by  the  appearance 
of  solid  volcanic  rocks  and  islets.  ^  Along  the  sides  of  St 
Michael,  as  also  of  Fayal,  we  perceived  innumerable  dark 
streaks,  and  amid  the  masses  of  black,  alternate  patches  of  a 
lighter  ground,  intermingled.  The  former  were  obviously  fields 
of  lava,  or  volcanic  scoriae,  piled  in  ridges ;  and  the  latter  I 
took  for  cultivated  spots,  whence  the  harvest  has  been  recently 
gathered.  These  islands,  besides  the  wines  and  fruits  they 
yield,  particularly  oranges,  furnish  annually  large  supplies  of 
wheat  and  barley  which  are  shipped  to  Portugal.  It  is  a  little 
curious  that  most  of  the  wine,  which  passes  under  the  name  of 
Fayal,  is  produced  on  the  adjacent  isle  of  Pico,  its  lofty  sides 
being  peculiarly  favorable  to  the  culture  of  the  grape  ;  but 
want  of  a  suitable  haven  for  large  vessels,  occasions  its  wines 
to  be  conveyed  to  the  former,  and  be  thence  exported.  The 
annual  quantity  which  Pico  yields,  is  computed  at  present, 
to  fall  not  short  of  six  thousand  pipes. 

The  existence  of  the  Azores  in  these  spots  which  they 
occupy,  so  centrally  fixed  in  the  ocean,  —  Corvo  being  almost 
literally  a  middle  point  in  the  North  Atlantic,  —  is  truly  won- 
derful. Whatever  be  the  absurdity  of  the  Huttonian  theory, 
when  applied  in  its  greatest  latitude,  that  the  entire  crust  of 
the  earth  has  been  propelled  upward  from  the  deep,  by  sub- 
terraneous fires,  it  would  seem,  at  least,  to  a  casual  observer^ 
that  to  such  a  cause,  these  insulated  masses  owe  their  origin. 
If  so,  how  unutterably  vast  and  awful  that  instrumental  power, 
displayed  in  the  formation  of  such  mountain  isles  !  But  whence 
do  they  date  ?  Anterior,  or  subsequent  to  the  flood  ?  Are  the 
fires  which  were  employed,  now  quenched  ?    Or  do  they  remain. 


20  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

only  partially  smothered,  awaiting  an  appointed  period,  again  to 
rush  forth,  and  to  despoil  or  destroy  the  fair  creations  which 
anciently  they  were  commissioned  to  produce  ?  These  are 
topics  of  inexplicable  speculation,  it  is  allowed  ;  yet  they  natu- 
rally present  themselves  to  the  mind,  in  the  survey  of  these 
extraordinary  islands ;  and  new  food  for  wonder  is  offered  by 
the  fact,  that  not  only  this  cluster,  but  those  other  groups  farther 
south  in  the  Atlantic  —  Madeira,  the  Canaries,  and  Cape  Verd 
isles  —  are  all  volcanic.   ^ 

It  is  said  that  no  soundings  are  obtained  among  these  islands, 
except  very  near  their  shores.  So  far  as  the  thermometer  can 
be  depended  on  in  evidence,  it  rather  went  to  confirm  the 
remark ;  for  though  I  tried  the  water  repeatedly,  I  perceived  a 
depression  of  temperature  only  of  one  degree,  when  abreast  of 
Pico,  and  two,  near  St  Michael's.  If  the  ocean  bed  were  un- 
covered, of  what  stupendous  altitude  would  these  isles  appear,  — 
especially  when  it  is  considered  that  Pico,  the  Teneriffe  of  this 
group,  is  already  so  elevated  above  the  sea,  that  its  peak  is 
constantly  whitened  with  snows.  "^ 

Dec.  30.  —  For  ten  days,  we  have  experienced  boisterous 
weather,  with  scarce  a  moment's  intermission.  There  was  one 
long  gale,  which  for  a  week,  blew  directly  against  us,  and  so 
violently,  that  sometimes  we  were  glad  to  lay  to,  with  every 
sail  furled.  There  were  torrents  of  rain,  sometimes  hail,  not 
without  the  occasional  accompaniments  of  thunder  and  lightning* 
Nothing  could  exceed  the  dread  magnificence  of  the  sea  and 
heavens,  in  the  night  of  the  27th.  We  were  glad  to  have  light 
of  some  sort,  as  we  were  placed  in  the  direct  highway  of 
vessels  bound  from  the  Straits  to  America,  and  had  descried  a 
sail  or  two  ahead  of  us  at  sunset,  on  the  evening  previous.  The 
night  itself  was  perfectly  black.  Not  an  object  could  be  seen 
a  yard  or  an  inch  in  advance.  In  these  circumstances,  about 
midnight,  it  began  to  lighten.  The  first  red  flash  which  darted 
through  the  murky  gloom  opened  up  with  sublime  effect  the 
surface  of  the  tumultuous  waters.  Another  and  another  corrus- 
cation  followed,  and  the  eye  embraced  each  quarter  of  the 


APPROACH  TO  LAND.  21 

horizon.  No  ship  was  seen.  All  around,  nothing  could  be 
discerned  but  foaming,  toppling  hills.  The  thunders  which 
successively  broke  completed  the  sublimity  of  the  scene  and 
hour.  The  emotions  inspired  were  enough  to  compensate  for 
many  inconveniences  and  a  measure  of  danger.  ^ 

Jan.  2,  1827.  —  Wafted  at  length  by  propitious  breezes,  we 
are  rapidly  drawing  to  our  desired  haven.  The  three  past  days 
have  been  delightful,  and  evenings  of  tranquil  beauty  have 
closed  upon  each  of  them.  The  moon,  too,  has  begun  to  light 
our  track,  and  her  silver  crescent  once  more  gleams  from  the 
firmament,  —  an  omen  for  good. 

Jan.  3.  JVear  midnight.  —  During  the  day,  our  course  was 
exhilarating,  —  every  sail  to  the  studding  canvass  gaily  spread, — 
and  the  hope  was  entertained  that  the  breeze  continuing  steady 
would  bring  our  reckoning  up  by  tomorrow  noon,  and  afford  us 
a  leisurely  look-out  for  the  land.  But  we  have  reason  to  ap- 
prehend, that  the  latter  is  already  closer  than  could  be  prudently 
wished.  When  the  sun  went  down,  the  wind  began  to  press  in 
heavy  blasts.  Our  sails  were  successively  taken  in  as  the 
gusts  increased,  till  at  length  naked,  with  only  close-reefed  top- 
sails, the  ship  is  driven  with  a  gale  at  the  rate  of  ten  miles  an 
hour.  The  bad  weather  experienced  after  our  leaving  the 
Western  Isles,  added  to  uncertain  drifts,  has  probably  made  our 
calculations  of  distance  somewhat  inaccurate.  An  imperfect 
observation  obtained  at  noon  the  day  past,  did  not  permit  us 
to  ascertain  our  latitude  exactly.  The  narrowness  of  the  Straits 
would  make  an  error  in  this  respect  very  serious,  if  we  should 
be  near  them  ;  and  the  in-setting  current  must  be  accelerating 
our  progress.  The  moon  has  gone  down,  the  night  is  very 
dark,  and  be  the  event  what  it  may,  onward  we  drive.  The 
opinion  of  the  officers  is,  that  we  are  forty  miles  past  Cape 
St  Vincent,  and  that  by  morning  break.  Cape  Roche,  on  the 
Spanish  shore,  will  be  about  six  leagues  distant. 

Jan.  4, Ten  A.M.  —  The  storm  continued  through  the  night. 
At  three  o'clock,  still  driving  in  dismal  darkness,  uncertain 
whether  land  was  one  league  or  a  score  of  leagues  before  us. 


22  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STKAITS. 

it  was  determined  to  sound.  The  ship  was  hove  to,  and  as  the 
lead  dropped  and  plashed  through  the  waves,  it  was  a  moment 
of  anxious  suspense.  No  bottom  was  found  at  a  hundred  fath- 
oms depth.  Afterwards,  at  intervals  the  line  was  tried  again, 
but  with  no  other  result.  The  dawn  broke  heavily.  The 
second  officer  coming  down,  reported  that  a  black  mass  of 
something  was  ahead,  but  whether  a  denser  cloud  or  the  coast, 
remained  for  opening  morn  to  determine.  At  length  land  it 
proved,  and  Land  was  eagerly  cried, 

E'en  from  the  topmast  head  where  posted  long. 
The  look-out  sailor  clung,  and  with  keen  eye 
Read  the  dim  characters  of  air-veiled  shores. 

The  coast  was  scarcely  a  league  in  advance.  An  hour  ear- 
lier, the  discovery  not  improbably  would  have  been  in  vain,  and 
a  wreck  upon  the  strand  first  told  of  its  proximity. 

Bearing  away,  we  shaped  a  more  southerly  course.  At 
eight,  I  went  upon  deck,  and  saw  stretching  upon  our  left 
broken  ridges  of  coast ;  and  amid  these  a  bold  bluff  lifting  its 
frov/ning  brow  over  the  roaring  waves.  This  was  Cape  Tra- 
falgar. We  were  sailing  over  the  memorable  scene  of  Nelson's 
last  and  proudest  triumph,  and  were  riding  upon  the  billows, 
which,  in  the  hour  of  his  expiring  achievements,  were  dyed  with 
human  blood. 

Looking  along  the  shore,  the  first  object  noticed  was  a 
wind-mill  briskly  at  work,  verifying  the  old  adage,  '  that  it  is  an 
ill  wind  which  blows  no  good.'  Not  long  after,  two  Martello 
towers  were  observed,  on  separate  bold  elevations  of  land,  and 
as  we  proceeded,  similar  erections  were  not  unfrequent.  The 
general  impression  of  the  scene  was  that  of  dreariness  and 
solitude.  About  nine  o'clock  the  first  house  was  distinguished, 
a  square,  unshaded  tenement,  bulk  close  to  the  beach,  in  an 
uninviting  situation.  As  we  advanced,  a  village  was  next  seen 
crowning  a  hill  a  mile  or  two  back  from  the  sea,  compactly 
set,  —  its  church  tower  very  conspicuous,  the  light  material  of 
which,  as  well  as  of  the  surrounding  buildings,  gave  to  the 
whole,  at  that  distance,  rather  an  agreeable  appearance.     Our 


SPANISH  AND  MOORISH  COASTS.  23 

chart  determines  this  to  be  St  Matthews.  A  beautiful  rainbow 
was  just  then  spanning  an  arch  of  the  heavens  over  it,  one  ex- 
tremity of  which  seemed  to  rest  on  tlie  little  town.  The  coast 
in  this  quarter  for  several  leagues  was  formed  chiefly  of  banks 
of  yellowish  sand,  which  were  high  and  precipitous ;  the  soil 
within  appeared  fainlly  tinged  with  herbage,  but  all  open  and 
bare  of  trees.  We  were  then  standing  in  close  with  the  shore,  — 
all  hands  busily  employed  in  bending  the  cables  and  arranging 
the  anchors.  Birds  were  wheeling  sportively  over  the  green 
and  boisterous  waves ;  and  the  sun  now  and  then  breaking  forth 
through  a  rifted  cloud, 

Brighten'd  the  storm  it  could  not  calm. 

As  we  coasted  at  length  within  a  mile  of  the  shore,  we  were 
able  to  survey  its  features  more  distinctly.  The  sandy  bluffs 
were  succeeded  by  a  range  of  rocky  hills  rising  back  upon  the 
interior,  whose  sides  presented  a  wavy  appearance,  the  broad 
and  deep  hollows  of  which  declined  uniformly  towards  the  wa- 
ter. Watch-towers  were  still  frequent,  memorials  of  times  and 
events  crowded  far  back  on  the  page  of  history.  They  occu- 
pied every  favorable  projection  of  the  coast.  Their  forms  were 
sometimes  square,  but  more  generally  circular  and  tapering. 
They  had  a  crumbling  look,  and  are  probably  useless  unless  they 
may  give  shelter  to  some  fishermen  whose  boats  we  occasion- 
ally saw^  moored  near  them.  Several  ruined  fortresses  appa- 
rently of  Saracenic  construction,  were  also  beheld  at  intervals  as 
we  bore  up  towards  the  Straits.  — Thus  far  of  the  Spanish  shore; 
but  ere  this  a  gratifying  spectacle  was  offered  in  another  quarter. 

Some  huge  volumes  of  clouds  rolling  apart  on  our  right  dis- 
closed the  first  features  of  the  opposite  continent.  The  lofty  and 
crag-bound  coast  of  Africa,  sable  as  her  sons,  was  seen  stretch- 
ing from  Cape  Spartel  far  to  the  south,  till  mingling  and  lost  in 
the  deeper  shades  of  distant  mists.  As  the  vision  became  more 
distinct,  that  shore  appeared  in  bolder  relief,  somewhat  more 
elevated  than  its  confronting  sister  continent,  and  altogether  it 
wore  to  the  eye  a  character  of  impressive  but  gloomy  grandeur. 


24  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

The  scene  at  this  time  possessed  great  sublimity.  Immense 
masses  of  vapor  were  constantly  mustering  in  the  west,  and 
trailing  their  blackness  after  us.  The  wind  at  intervals  would 
lull  as  these  deluged  us  with  rain,  and  then  rush  anew  with  wild 
tempestuousness.  At  no  great  distances  were  several  ships, 
driven  like  ourselves  with  almost  naked  rigging  before  the  storm 
—  now  pressed  down  upon  their  sides  while  the  sheeted  foam 
swept  over  their  prows ;  now  riding  with  giddy  swiftness  on  the 
topmost  waves,  and  anon  lost  sight  of,  as  though  literally  sunk, 
when  some  deeper  cloud  shut  down  between  them  and  us.  The 
actual  spectacle  and  a  crowd  of  reflections, — a  continent  ap- 
proximating on  either  hand  ;  before  me  and  soon  to  be  unveiled, 
those  Pillars  of  renown, — the  colossal  boundaries  of  the  Western 
Deep,  and  sentinels  as  of  yore  to  the  pass  of  another  majestic 
sea,  —  that  sea  thence  lengthening  its  expanse  till  washing 
shores  once  famed  as  the  seats  of  all-conquering  monarchies,- — 
these  together  operated  powerfully  to  excite  and  impress  my  mind^ 

Cabreta,  on  the  Spanish  shore,  was  the  next  point  approached, 
and  this  we  have  just  left.  On  it  is  a  light-house,  and  adjacent, 
the  small  fort  of  Canaro.  The  royal  colors  were  spread  from 
the  latter  as  we  passed,  a  salutation  which  we  returned  by  dis- 
playing the  republican '  star-spangled  banner.'  Here  was  afford- 
ed the  first  sample  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  legitimate  soil,  and 
these  in  the  persons  of  several  of  its  mercenary  defenders,  — 
some  soldiers  being  observed  cowering  from  the  keen  blasts 
under  the  sheltered  side  of  a  block-house.  They  were  clad  in 
coats  of  light  grey,  with  hats  of  an  uncouth  shape,  —  their  white 
belts  crossing  in  front  in  the  antiquated  style.  Their  firelocks 
were  stacked  beside  them.  On  the  whole  their  appearance  had 
litde  in  it  of  the  martial. 

Evening.  Anchored  in  Gibraltar  Bay.  At  length  we 
are  here,  and  it  remains  that  I  look  back  and  trace  the  few  sub- 
sequent particulars  of  the  voyage.  The  eye  is  wont  to  glance 
with  eager  interest  over  the  first  features  of  a  country ;  and 
what  under  common  circumstances  would  be  regarded  with 
indifference,  inspires  other  feelings  in  a  new   observer.     The 


LANDSCAPES.  26 

minutiae  which  caught  attention  as  we  rapidly  coasted  along  the 
Spanish  shore  were  not  peculiarly  striking.  It  was  the  general 
cast  of  dreary  grandeur  both  of  that  and  the  opposite  territory  of 
Morocco,  increasing  as  we  advanced,  that  awakened  chief  inte- 
rest. My  glass  was  busily  employed  for  the  better  survey  of 
passing  objects.  On  the  nearer  shore,  huts  and  cottages,  all 
built  of  light  colored  stone,  and  a  few  better  tenements  were 
seen  thinly  scattered.  The  peasantry  were  occupied,  some 
about  their  homesteads  in  trimming  their  rudely  fenced  gardens, 
others  with  the  plough  abroad  in  their  fields.  Here,  a  few  bul- 
locks were  cropping  the  stinted  herbage  ;  there  in  a  snug  hollow, 
the  smoke  of  the  burning  stubble  of  the  last  year's  harvest  was 
sending  up  its  murky  wreaths.  On  the  strand,  in  one  place,  a 
group  of  men  might  be  seen  securing  their  boats,  or  mending 
their  fishing  gear ;  in  another,  some  few  idle  ones,  were  shel- 
tered beneath  a  rock  or  jutting  sandbank  watching  the  waves  as 
they  lashed  the  shore,  and  perchance  rejoicing  that  they  in  their 
barks  were  not  encountering  the  fierceness  of  the  storm :  further 
on,  along  the  margin  of  an  inlet,  a  company  of  children  were 
pursuing  their  sports,  occasionally  pausing  to  mark  the  course  and 
toiling  of  our  ship  which  seemed  to  add  to  their  amusement,  and 
then  resuming  their  gambols,  blithe  as  the  flapping  curlew. 
The  hills  and  fields  preserved  much  the  same  uniformity,  — 
quite  uninclosed,  —  saving  about  a  tenement  a  small  patch  or 
two  were  sometimes  intersected  by  hedges  of  the  scraggy  rock- 
pear.  Portions  of  the  lower  and  more  sheltered  slopes  were 
arable  and  under  tillage,  but  the  wild  furze  or  other  underwood, 
which  closed  around,  and  the  bare  rocky  precipices  which 
frowned  above,  could  be  contemplated  with  no  great  pleasure. 
In  short,  there  was  much  wanting  in  the  scenes  generally  which 
flitted  by,  to  communicate  that  impression  of  comfort,  which  is 
the  characteristic  of  an  American  landscape. 

An  exception  on  the  score  of  prettiness,  might  be  made  in 
favor  of  the  Hermitage  of  St  Catherine  near  TarifFa,  the  neigh- 
borhood of  which  exhibited  a  pleasing  image  of  quiet,  rural  neat- 
ness.    Another  spot  caught  my  attention  from  some  not  unwel- 
4 


26 


VOYAGH  TO  THE  STRAITS. 


come  remembrances  and  associations  which  it  called  up,  —  and 
these,  by  its  Scottish  character.  The  scene  was  a  natural  recess 
between  high  and  rugged  lands  approaching  to  mountains. 
They  divided  more  broadly  and  with  less  abruptness  than  most 
which  I  observed.  There  were  three  or  four  houses  inter- 
spersed over  this  space,  and  peering  from  under  plantations  of 
greenwood.  A  brook  tumbled  from  a  neighboring  precipice, 
and  meandered  near  the  little  hamlet,  tinging  with  fresh  verdure 
the  soil  which  it  irrigated.  It  next  glided  coyly  away,  along  a 
dusky  dell,  which  a  Scot  might  call  a  glen ;  after  which,  it  re- 
appeared to  sparkle  a  moment  in  the  fitful  sunbeams,  and  then 
leap  and  be  lost  among  the  ocean  floods.  It  is  more  difficult 
to  say  wherein  the  appearance  of  the  spot  was  peculiarly  Cale- 
donian, as  that  so  it  was  ;  the  brokenness  of  the  back  ground 
with  its  furzy  garb  resembling  heath,  —  the  unfenced  soil, —the 
repose  and  freshness  of  the  green  nook,  so  isolated,  ■ —  the  head- 
long brook,  with  some  nameless  features  less  strongly  imprint- 
ed,—  these  all  made  up  the  cast  of  the  scene. 

Meanwhile,  the  opposite  shore  came  in  for  its  share  of  atten- 
tion. After  opening  the  bay  of  Tangiers,  a  clearer  view  was 
had  of  its  circling  districts.  These,  and  the  swelling  lands  be- 
yond, extending  towards  Ceuta,  gave  evidence  of  a  better 
peopled  country  than  the  portion  already  glanced  at  of  the  vain- 
glorious Spaniard.  Houses  and  other  erections,  dappled  many 
parts  of  their  long  sweeping  surfaces ;  and  whatever  allowance 
be  made  for  distance,  certainly  as  thence  seen,  the  heritage  of 
the  Moor  bore  the  palm  of  superior  pleasantness.  The  famed 
Abyla  was  at  length  revealed,  towering  in  sombre  state,  the  very 
mists  which  still  partly  veiled  his  brow,  giving  heightened  sub- 
limity to  his  hoary  pride.  Nor  was  it  long  ere  the  twin-mount 
began  to  be  uncovered,  till  then  land-locked  by  a  bold  promon- 
tory forming  the  western  limit  of  Gibraltar  Bay.  Point  Europa 
greeted  us  first,  and  gradually  extended  its  front  into  the  sea  as 
we  continued  to  double  the  intercepting  Cape.  Soon  the  Old 
mole  was  discovered  ;  next  the  shipping  clustered  about  the 
New ;  then  the  grim  batteries  at  the  water's  edge ;  and  above 


APPEARANCE  OF  GIBRALTAR.  27 

these,  Gibraltar,  with  its  small  crowded  edifices,  looking  like 
card-houses  pasted  to  the  naked  rock,  and  so  slight,  as  though 
one  swoop  of  the  storm  could  scatter  them  upon  the  waves.  To 
the  left  of  the  town  we  beheld  a  crumbling  fortress,  remnant  of 
Moorish  power,  —  on  the  south,  a  venerable  wall  climbing  the 
savage  steep  till  stopped  by  an  impassable  elevation,  —  higher 
yet,  crag  upon  crag,  —  here,  pierced  with  lines  of  embrasures, 
whose  unsleeping  eyelids  told  of  the  tremendous  artillery  stored 
within  —  there,  poised  as  upon  air,  and  seemingly  ready  by  their 
own  weight  to  fall  and  crush  each  human  work  beneath, — 
these  too,  still  rising  to  giddier  heights,  till  they  led  the  eye  up  to 
the  proud  old  summit  of  Mount  Calpe,  —  such  faintly  sketched, 
were  the  more  striking  objects  which  riveted  the  gaze  when  the 
harbor  was  approached,  which  opened  its  bosom  to  receive  us. 

And  soon  it  was  entered.  Reaching  a  station  abreast  of  the 
inner  mole,  our  anchor  was  dropped  ;  the  massy  chain  followed 
with  its  grating,  rumbling  sound  ;  the  vessel  '  brought  up,'  and 
the  voyage  was  done.  The  laws  of  quarantine  not  permitting 
my  landing,  the  usual  resource  left  has  been  employed  in  exam- 
ining more  leisurely  the  features  of  surrounding  objects.  On 
one  side,  is  the  town  of  Gibraltar,  occupying  the  eastern  shore 
of  the  bay;  on  the  opposite,  but  further  removed,  is  Algeziras, 
with  its  extensive  but  half  dismantled  castle.  North  of  us,  St 
Roque  is  seen,  prettily  crowning  a  small  hill  a  league  or  more 
back  from  the  head  of  the  harbor.  It  is  there  that  the  governor 
of  the  garrison  is  permitted  to  have  an  occasional  residence,  un- 
der the  sanction  of  the  Spanish  authorities.  He  is  to  be  felicitated 
on  this,  for  the  town  under  his  military  command,  seems  misera- 
bly cramped  for  space.  Just  out  of  the  land-port,  leading  from 
the  walls  to  the  Neutral  ground,  a  causeway  begins,  which  tra- 
verses the  sandy  isthmus  to  a  village  of  considerable  size  built 
of  wood.  It  next  continues  through  a  line  of  military  embank- 
ments and  other  fortifications,  which  cross  the  neck  north  and 
south,  and  mark  where  the  dominion  of  Old  Spain  begins.  The 
path  then  winds  down  to  the  shore,  the  curve  of  which  forms 
the  only  route  further  on,  quite  round  to  Algeziras,     The  entire 


28  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

extent,  both  of  this  highway  and  a  branch  which  strikes  into  the 
interior,  winding  up  the  picturesque  height  of  St  Roque,  is  fre- 
quented by  pedestrians  of  all  ages,  —  men,  women  and  child- 
ren, —  also,  mules  and  horses,  drays  and  other  vehicles.  In 
the  moving  groups,  that  universal  drudge  of  the  Old  World,  the 
poor,  patient  donkey,  is  always  to  be  seen,  laden,  (besides  his 
panniers)  with  burdens  sometimes  surpassing  the  creature's  own 
bulk.  Yet  onward  he  toils,  urged  by  the  impatient  attendant, 
who  returning  from  the  Rock,  is  perhaps,  counting  the  rials 
which  the  day's  traffic  has  yielded  ;  and  whose  sole  thought  at 
night  for  his  faithful  beast,  will  be  to  turn  him  adrift,  in  order  to 
pick  the  litde  herbage  or  coarse  briars  which  the  inclemency  of 
the  season  may  have  spared  around  his  abode. 

Jan.  5.  —  In  the  forenoon,  we  again  weighed  our  anchor  and 
stood  in  nearer  to  the  shore.  A  boat  afterwards  put  off  and 
came  along-side,  bearing  the  health  Inspector.  It  was  manned 
by  six  swarthy  oarsmen,  who  were  neatly  dressed  in  blue  round 
jackets  and  red  vests,  with  glazed  hats  of  a  smart  set,  in  a  circu- 
lar cipher  on  the  front  of  which,  the  letters  G.  R.  were  conspic- 
uous. The  officer  was  gentlemanly  and  treated  us  well.  He 
gave  us  reason  to  hope  that  there  would  be  no  obstacles  to  our 
speedily  escaping  the  restraints  of  quarantine. 

Inquiring  the  news,  we  learned  that  the  Portuguese  Pro- 
visional Government  had  claimed  the  aid  of  England  in  support 
of  the  new  constitution  given  by  Pedro,  which  was  opposed  or 
at  least  menaced  on  the  part  of  Spain ;  and  that  five  thousand 
troops  had  been  ordered  forthwith  to  proceed  to  Oporto  and 
Lisbon.  To  furnish  these,  a  contingent  was  immediately  to 
embark  from  this  garrison. 

Another  light  wherry  visited  us,  despatched  by  the  vessel's 
consignee,  which  brought  us  papers,  and  more  substantial  enter- 
tainment in  a  variety  of  fruits,  vegetables  and  wines.  The 
remainder  of  the  day  was  occupied  as  circumstances  would 
admit  —  passed  somewhat  listlessly,  and  yet  not  without  general 
interest.  A  busy  going  to  and  fro  has  kept  up  along  the  routes 
described  in  my  notes  of  yesterday ;  and  both  harbor  and  beach 


AN  F/^ENING  ON  BOARD. 


29 


have  presented  scenes  of  animation.  Boats  bearing  passengers 
of  botii  sexes  were  frequently  shooting  across  the  bay,  many 
of  them  belonging  to  Algeziras,  and  the  peculiarities  of  phy- 
siognomy and  costume,  all  so  strongly  Spanish,  did  not  escape 
notice.  Of  the  passing  groups  on  the  land  side,  one  is  offered 
as  a  specimen. 

Looking  through  a  glass,  (of  such  clearness  as  suggested  the 
fancy  of  the  humorist  who  reported  that  his  brought  persons  so 
near,  that  besides  seeing  them,  he  had  the  further  advantage  of 
hearing  them  speak,)  I  observed  early  in  the  bright  but  chilly 
morning,  a  company  of  three  lively  and  dark-eyed  Andalusian 
lasses  mounted  on  mules,  clad  in  scarlet  cloaks,  light  furs  and 
streaming  veils,  and  each  attended  by  a  side  runner  armed  with 
a  long  staff  for  goading  the  beasts,  which  tripped  onward  with 
their  fair  burdens.  The  animals  were  quaintly,  but  showily 
caparisoned,  and  to  complete  the  curious  group  a  brace  of  large 
white  dogs  bounded  by  their  side.  They  were  wending  along 
the  sandy  track  that  still  sparkled  with  a  light  hoar-frost, — 
haply  to  spend  a  day  of  amusement  in  the  gay  garrison. 

The  evening  upon  the  bay,  —  (it  is  now  nine  P.  M.) — has 
worn  a  cheerful  aspect.  Lights  gleam  about  the  shores,  and 
spangle  with  innumerable  bright  dots  the  town  of  Gibraltar,  the 
Neutral  suburb,  and  the  two  or  three  Spanish  villages  discernible 
without  the  lines.  The  busy  hum  of  the  garrison  is  done ;  and 
above,  all  is  equally  hushed  where  its  most  appalling  engines  of 
death  lie  embosomed.  Silence  on  the  bay  is  not  unwelcomely 
disturbed  when  the  bells  of  neighboring  ships  toll  the  half  hour  ; 
and  not  long  since,  this  stillness  was  far  more  pleasingly  broken 
when  from  the  town  the  heavy  tongues  of  the  cathedral  chime 
were  heard  to  strike  the  affecting  Los  Animos.  The  sounds 
stole  along  the  waters  in  softened  harmony,  and  fell  upon  the 
ear  in  tones  so  plaintive  and  so  solemn,  that  they  touched  within 
me  a  cord  of  sympathy  with  the  devout  affections  in  the  Catholic 
bosom,  which  were  warned  by  the  mournful  music  of  those  sweet 
bells  to  breathe  an  aspiration  for  the  peace  of  Departed  Souls.  ^ 


CHAPTER  II 


GIBRALTAR. 

Interview  with  the  Health  Physician.  —  Release  from  Quarantine.  —  Impres- 
sions on  Landing.  —  Appearance  of  the  Mole  and  Streets.  —  Sunday  ;  Re- 
ligious Services  in  the  Cathedral  and  Government  Church. — Comments. — 
Spanish  Ladies. —  Costumes.  —  Jews.  —  Restraints  of  the  Inhabitants  gen- 
erally. —  Survey  of  the  Fortifications. — Reflections,  —  Ascent  to  the  South 
Pinnacle.  —  Grandeur  of  the  Prospect.  —  St  Michael's  Cave.  —  Embarkation 
of  Troops  for  Portugal.  —  Military  Pomp.  —  Strength  of  Gibraltar.  —  Cost- 
liness of  its  Possession.  —  A  Query  on  its  Utility. 

Commercial  Sq,uare,  King's  Arms  :  January  Sih.  —  Mj 
confinement  on  shipboard,  which  was  becoming  at  length 
sufficiently  irksome,  terminated  on  the  afternoon  of  the  6th 
instant.  The  vessel  was  still  detained  in  quarantine  on  the 
plea  that  six  cases  of  silk  were  on  board,  which  the  Health 
Office  undertook  to  presume  might  be  the  product"  of  the 
looms  of  Turkey.  They  were  from  Canton,  and  had  been 
sent  on  board  the  morning  of  our  leaving  America,  by  a  merchant 
who  wished  to  avail  himself  of  the  privilege  of  drawback.  — 
When  the  discovery  was  made,  the  whole  cargo  was  subjected 
to  the  suspicion  or  rather  the  treatment  as  though  it  nursed  the 
germs  of  a  plague.  A  brief  notice  of  the  procedure  in  such 
cases  may  not  be  amiss. 

In  a  part  of  the  harbor  a  King's  vessel  is  anchored,  having  the 
royal  colors  flying.  At  a  certain  hour  each  day,  the  health 
Physician,  as  examiner,  goes  on  board,  and  a  signal  flag  is  dis- 
played. Boats  from  the  ships  in  quarantine  then  put  off  to  it 
for  the  purpose  of  communication,  but  are  not  suffered  to 
approach  within  a  certain  distance.  In  one  of  the  visits  of  our 
captain  I  accompanied  him  at  his  desire  to  add  my  affirmation 


HEALTH  PHYSICIAN.  31 

to  his  statements.  On  coming  up  with  the  floating  tribunal,  a 
dapper  looking  doctor  was  seen  reclining  in  a  comfortable  arm- 
chair placed  on  the  quarter-deck.  A  white  kid  glove  was 
tightly  drawn  over  the  left  hand.  Its  counterpart  dangled  from 
the  right,  which  seemed  purposely  left  bare  to  display  the  spark- 
ling of  a  gemmed  ring.  We  drew  up  to  the  leeward  that  we 
might  not  come  '  between  the  wind  and  his  nobility.'  Just 
deigning  to  cast  a  glance  upon  us  through  an  eye-glass  which 
was  suspended  from  his  neck,  the  lordly  ^sculapian  began  :  — 
'  You  have  silks  on  board,  Mr  Captain  ?' 

*  1  have,  sir,  a  few  small  cases.' 

'  What  evidence  can  you  offer  that  they  are  not  of  Turkish 
febric  ?' 

'  My  oath,  sir.' 

*  Your  oath  can  but  state  your  personal  convictions.  They 
may  err.     Have  you  no  other  testimony  V 

'  The  declarations  of  this  gentleman  respecting  the  character 
of  the  house  from  which  the  silks  were  received,  and  its  long 
established  trade  with  the  East  Indies:  and  next,  the  plain 
marks  on  the  cases  themselves,  showing  that  they  are  of 
Chinese  production.' 

'The  declarations  of  your  friend  cannot  be  supposed  to 
cover  every  interrogatory,  and  marks  are  often  deceptive.  I 
perceive,  Mr  Captain,  there  are  difficulties  in  this  business.  My 
situation  is  one  of  great  responsibility  as  His  Majesty's  health 
physician  in  this  important  port.  In  the  present  matter  there  is 
much  room  for  distrust.  Let  me  release  your  cargo,  and  a 
pestilence  may  go  through  the  garrison.  The  circumstances 
must  be  maturely  weighed.  Meanwhile,  you  will  remain  in 
quarantine.' 

*  But  when  shall  we  take  pratique^  ^ 
'  I  cannot  tell.' 

Such  was  the  dialogue  which  occupied  the  interview  with  this 
important  personage.  There  was  something  more  offensive 
conveyed  by  his  mannerism  than  even  this  description  exhibits. 


3?v  VOYAGE  TO  THE  STRAITS. 

It  was  the  superciliousness,  combined  with  the  rudeness,  so 
common  in  a  deputy  of  John  Bull.  The  former  characteristic 
is  more  usually  met  with  in  the  underlings  of  government,  than 
among  those  in  elevated  stations  of  trust,  and  it  consequently  is 
felt  as  more  intolerable.  It  distinguishes,  too,  these  minor 
satellites  of  power  more  generally,  when  found  in  distant  de- 
pendencies of  the  crown,  than  those  invested  with  commissions 
at  home,  as  I  have  elsewhere  had  opportunity  to  witness. 
Wherever  displayed,  the  feeling  is  no  less  unwise  and 
contemptible,  than  indecorous  and  unaccommodating. 

Being  impatient  of  captivity  on  such  frivolous  grounds,  a 
representation  was  made  of  my  situation  to  another  and  higher 
quarter,  through  the  assistance  of  friends  whose  kind  offices  my 
letters  introductory  had  bespoken,  and  on  Saturday  the  Gth,  as 
already  mentioned,  a  permit  was  sent  me  to  land.  I  was  not 
long  in  availing  myself  of  it,  and  with  a  light  heart  entered  a 
boat  which  was  to  convey  me  to  shore. 

The  noise  of  mingled  voices  and  other  discordant  sounds, 
which  had  fallen  not  feebly  on  the  ear  even  at  the  distance 
where  our  vessel  rode,  increased  and  deepened  as  we  ap- 
proached the  place  of  debarkation.  This  was  the  Mole,  and  a 
curious  and  bustling  scene  it  presented  on  a  nearer  view.  No 
swarm  from  a  bee-hive  was  ever  busier.  But  in  place  of  a 
sombre  assemblage  of  homogeneous  beings,  a  motley  crowd  of 
every  variety  of  garb,  and  look,  and  occupation  was  beheld. 
With  difficulty  our  little  boat  was  pushed  among  the  multitude 
of  skiffs,  launches  and  water-gigs  which,  with  heavier  craft, 
lined  deeply  the  margin  of  the  Mole.  As  it  was,  on  leaving 
the  yawl,  I  had  to  make  my  way  literally  over  a  bridge  of 
boats  ere  stepping  foot  on  the  solid  main ;  but  at  length,  the 
latter  was  reached,  and  I  felt  in  touching  it,  that  thrill  of  perfect 
pleasure  so  rarely  experienced  in  this  chequered  life,  which 
gives  a  luxury  to  bare  existence.  In  fact,  I  know  no  higher 
satisfaction  in  the  sum  of  human  enjoyments  than  that  con- 
densed into  the  moment  when  one  finds  himself  fairly  escaped 


IMPRESSIONS  ON  LANDING.  33 

from  the  confinement  of  ship-board  and  the  Inconveniences  of 
a  long  and  turbulent  voyage,  and  when  he  can  walk  abroad  free 
as  his  own  spirit,  once  more  on  firm  earth.  The  novel  scene  of 
a  people  of  new,  or  varied  pursuits  and  manners,  costumes  and 
tongues,  among  whom  he  finds  himself  suddenly  introduced, 
adds  to  his  exhilaration :  and  for  a  while  he  feels  all  the  hap- 
piness he  can  ask  or  desire.  But  the  sensation  is  too  tense 
and  exquisite  to  be  of  long  duration.  It  soon  relaxes  and 
drops  from  its  tone.  And  it  is  well  if  the  recollection  of  his 
lone  individuality  among  a  throng  of  careless  strangers,  and  the 
fond  i-egret  in  contemplating  the  weary  distance  which  separates 
him  from  those  he  knows  and  best  loves,  and  whose  images 
busy  memory  will  surely  bring  up,  do  not  shortly  infuse  into  his 
bosom  a  train  of  dispiriting  and  gloomy  reflections. 

The  Mole  was  piled  with  merchandise  of  all  descriptions,  and 
buyers  and  venders,  masters  and  clerks,  sailors,  porters,  and 
draymen,  were  promiscuously  mixed.  The  solemn  looks, 
quaint  dress,  and  sonorous  language  of  the  Spanish  portion  of 
these-  groups  chiefly  arrested  my  attention.  They  formed 
generally  the  humbler  and  by  far  the  most  numerous  class. 
The  strong,  well  formed  horses  which  drew  their  ponderous 
wagons,  were  samples  of  the  once  famed  and  still  valuable  An- 
dalusian  breed,  and  the  trappings  and  housings  of  uncouth 
and  fantastic  materials  which  literally  loaded  them,  indicated 
the  pride  with  which  their  masters  still  regarded  them.  Hav- 
ing refreshed  the  boat's  crew  at  a  neighboring  stall  which 
displayed  a  tempting  variety  of  oranges  and  other  fruits,  the 
products  of  this  delicious  clime,  1  was  glad  to  escape  from  the 
scene  of  noise  and  jostling  and  hubbub,  and  to  elbow  my  way 
to  the  water-port.  There  I  met  the  United  States  consul  who 
had  politely  rode  down  to  greet  me,  and  insure  a  pass,  the  right 
of  which  is  always  rigidly  questioned.  Under  the  escort  of  a 
guide,  which  this  gentleman  provided  in  addition  to  his  other 
civilities,  I  again  set  forth  to  thread  the  mazes  of  this  straitened 
town  in  quest  of  the  '  traveller's  home.' 
5 


34  GIBRALTAR. 

Proceeding  from  the  Mole  by  the  only  outlet,  a  long  vaulted 
passage  through  walls  of  solid  masonry,  crowded  with  pedestrians 
vociferating  in  divers  tongues,  and  carts  whose  rumbling  wheels 
completed  the  almost  stunning  noise,  I  entered  a  military 
square  which  exhibited  a  moving  scene  scarcely  less  animated 
than  that  I  had  just  left.  Soldiers  were  hurrying  to  and  fro, 
many  of  them  busy  in  preparations  for  their  speedy  embarkation 
for  Portugal.  The  cipher  on  their  equipments  told  their 
respective  regiments,  —  the  royal  artillery,  the  twentythird, 
fortythird  and  sixtyfourth  of  the  line.  Among  these  brave 
fellows  I  was  glad  to  notice  a  few  in  the  truly  martial  dress  of 
the  Scotch  highlanders,  with  their  plaid  kilts,  tartan  hose  and 
proud  bonnets  and  plumes.  From  this  quarter  my  guide  con- 
ducted me  into  the  heart  of  the  town  through  streets  which 
elsewhere  would  be  termed  lanes  and  alleys ;  and  these  were  all 
filled  with  passing  multitudes,  men,  women  and  children,  sailors 
and  military,  horses  and  carts,  dogs,  goats  and  asses.  At  length 
we  entered  Church-street,  the  main  thoroughfare  through  the 
town,  and  which  in  width  and  other  comforts  may  rival,  but  not 
surpass  old  Ann-street  in  Boston.  Fronting  on  this  and  form- 
ing a  corner  of  a  small  open  space,  called  the  Commercial 
Square,  stands  the  King's  Arms  Hotel,  a  house  of  respectable 
pretensions,  inasmuch  as  it  professes  to  be  the  best  in  the 
garrison.  Thither  I  was  conducted,  and  the  portly  landlord 
having  promised  me  all  the  comforts  his  inn  affords,!  was  soon 
settled  and  have  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  my  accommodations. 
Calls,  and  a  hasty  survey  of  other  portions  of  the  town  occupied 
the  remainder  of  the  day. 

The  following  morning  being  Sunday,  I  repaired,  at  the  usual 
hour,  to  the  service  of  mass  in  the  Cathedral.  It  is  a  large 
building,  and  its  ample  floor  was  covered  with  votaries.  It 
seemed  as  if  the  entire  population  of  Gibraltar  of  every  rank 
and  either  sex  was  concentrated  within  its  walls.  There  were 
no  seats  for  their  accommodation ;  and  the  absence  of  these, 
and  of  everything  that  bore  the  semblance  of  a  pew  indicated 
at  once  that  it  was  no  Protestant  place  of  worship,  —  that  here 


CATHEDRAL  -  CHURCH.  35 

no  instruction  was  to  be  looked  for  from  oral  teaching  and  exhor- 
tation, but  that  the  devotional  sense  was  to  be  raised,  if  at  all, 
by  dumb  religious  show,  and  formal  observances.  The  mul- 
titude stood  gazing  on  the  ceremonial  at  the  altar  with  apparent 
indifference,  or  shifted  their  places  as  curiosity  and  convenience 
prompted,  till  at  the  signal  of  a  bell,  on  the  elevation  of  the 
host,  all  fell  prostrate  as  though  smitten  by  an  invisible  but  re- 
sistless power.  There  was  perfect  stillness  then  through  all  that 
throng,  and  in  that  stillness  a  most  impressive  solemnity.  They 
appeared  in  united  and  fervent  prayer,  and  the  coldest  bosom 
would  willingly  have  admitted  the  belief  of  its  reality.  But 
soon  they  rose  ;  and  the  buzz  of  their  movement,  and  their 
blending  voices  as  they  prepared  to  separate,  with  their  eager 
outpouring  from  the  temple  gate,  effectually  dissipated  the  seri- 
ousness of  the  preceding  scene. 

This  Cathedral  displays  no  little  state  and  embellishment; 
quite  enough  to  prove  it  a  genuine  appendage  of  the  Catholic 
religion.  It  is  dedicated  to  our  Lady  in  Europe.  The  Pro- 
testants are  but  slenderly  provided  with  places  of  public  wor- 
ship. I  can  only  find  a  Methodist  conventicle  and  an  Epis- 
copalian church.  Even  the  Jews  are  better  supplied  with 
synagogues,  as  they  count  no  less  than  three.  The  church 
especially,  is  quite  an  ordinary  accommodation.  It  is  called 
the  convent  chapel ;  and  in  it  the  Governor  and  suite,  and  such 
of  the  fashionable  gentry  within  the  garrison,  and  officers  not 
on  duty  who  may  feel  disposed  to  attend,  statedly  worship. 
The  plainness  of  its  walls  and  accompaniments,  with  the  paucity 
of  worshippers  who  usually  convene  there,  occasions  severe 
strictures  on  the  genius  of  Protestantism  by  the  superstitious 
Catholics,  when  comparing  the  superior  respect  they  are  wont 
to  pay  to  the  forms  and  externals  of  religion.  There  is  no  bell 
to  the  chapel;  and  for  want  of  such  a  summons,  a  flourish 
of  drums  and  fifes  from  a  band  stationed  in  Commercial  Square, 
announces  when  the  hour  of  service  arrives. 

At  11,  this  summons  was  given,  and  I  hastened  to  the 
convent  church,  —  truly  happy  in  an  opportunity  of  joining 


36  GIBRALTAR. 

once  more  with  fellow  Protestants,  In  praises  offered  in  a  fa- 
miliar tongue  to  the  common  Parent  and  Sovereign  of  the 
human  family.  The  assemblage  was  striking  in  appearance. 
The  pews,  all  labelled  with  their  proprietors'  names,  were  occu- 
pied by  well  dressed  gentry,  or  officers  in  the  full  pride  of 
apparel ;  and  it  is  due  to  justice  to  add,  that  their  general  de- 
portment during  the  service  denoted  becoming  gravity.  The 
church  is  equally  destitute  of  an  organ  as  of  a  bell  ;  but  the 
place  of  the  former  was  supplied  by  instruments  of  martial 
sound,  and  the  effect  was  far  better  than  I  could  have  conceived. 
Horns  and  bassoons  pealed  their  inspiring  notes,  softened 
and  tamed  to  the  place  and  occasion.  And  although  not  '  sil- 
ver trumpets,'  but  trumpets  of  war,  swelled  the  solemn  strain, 
their  tones  were  mingled  with  the  melody  of  voices,  particu- 
larly those  of  females  and  even  children,  as  usual  in  English 
choirs,  —  and  the  music  thus  produced  fell  impressively  on  the 
ear.  Ah,  when,  thought  I,  shall  such  instruments  be  supremely 
devoted  to  purposes  purely  hallowed,  and  unite  their  thrilling 
sounds  in  a  universal  chorus  to  anthems  in  honor  of  the  Prince 
OF  Peace  ?  When  still  more,  shall  the  weapons  of  war  perish, 
and  all  nations  shall  beat  their  swords  into  ploughshares  and 
their  spears  into  pruning  hooks  ?  Alas  !  as  I  looked  round  I 
gathered  from  the  objects  which  met  my  gaze  a  faint  augury 
that  such  an  auspicious  era  can  be  near.  Emblems  there  were 
that  told  too  painfully  of  the  prevalence  of  a  spirit  at  utter  va- 
riance with  the  pacific  principles  of  Christianity.  Everything, 
I  had  almost  said,  either  directly  or  indirectly  demonstrated  this 
fact;  nay  and  nearly  every  individual,  despite  of  an  exterior 
gravity,  to  the  very  clerk  who  led  in  the  responses,  who  was 
himself  a  sergeant  in  the  showy  habiliments  of  his  profession. 
Yet  what  was  one  of  the  petitions  rehearsed  from  the  Litany  ? 
— '  From  BATTLE,  murder  and  sudden  death,  good  Lord  de- 
liver us  !'  —  And  what  was  the  language  of  others?  — 

*  That  it  may  please  Thee,  [Lord,]  to  give  to  all  nations 
unity,  peace,  and  concord  ) ' 


LITANY  -  COMMENTS.  37 

<  That  it  may  please  thee  to  succor,  help,  and  comfort,  all 
who  are  in  danger  ;'  — '  to  raise  up  those  who  fall;  ' —  and  to 
show  thy  pity  upon  all  prisoners  and  captives.'' 

Such  was  the  voice  of  intercession.  And  now  apply^the 
commentary.  There  was  enough,  as  already  remarked,  within 
the  walls  of  that  very  chapel,  to  show  a  resolution  in  open  con- 
trariety to  the  sentiment  of  the  petitions  uttered.  I  saw  about 
me  men,  whose  trade  was  cruelty  and  blood  ;  who  gloried  in 
the  skill  of  a  destructive  use  of  arms;  and  who  had  bound  them- 
selves over  to  the  will  of  a  sovereign  on  condition  of  certain  pay 
and  expectancies,  to  fight  any  battles  which  that  sovereign  with 
his  counsellors  should  determine  —  in  fine,  to  consider  as  their 
enemies  all  whom  he  should  choose  to  designate  as  his,  and 
these  to  persecute  and  pursue  even  unto  death.  If  I  turned  an 
eye  without,  the  impregnable  bulwarks,  which  the  hand  of  man 
had  reared  in  conjunction  with  the  effective  facilities  of  nature, 
were  contemplated  as  so  many  memorials  of  the  same  ferocious 
dispositions.  And  at  the  hour  when  the  philanthropic  clauses 
of  the  litany  of  a  church,  which  boasts  itself  pre-eminently  Chris- 
tian, were  in  course  of  repetition,  an  order  was  abroad  from  the 
self-styled  head  of  that  self-same  church,  requiring  a  large  con- 
tingent of  troops  from  this  fortress,  to  proceed  forthwith  to  a 
neighboring  kingdom  to  assist  one  portion  of  its  subjects  to  cut 
the  throats  of  another,  merely  for  a  difference  of  opinion  touch- 
ing the  frame  and  polity  of  their  domestic  government.  The 
order,  doubtless,  comprehended  some  whom  I  at  the  moment 
beheld.  And  from  this  scene  of  social  worship  they  went 
forth,  —  with  the  petition  on  their  lips  that  it  would  please  God 
to  give  to  all  nations,  'unity,  peace,  and  concord,'  but  — with  the 
fell  purpose,  if  not  to  promote  strife  among  the  people  to  w^hom 
they  were  sent,  yet  haply  to  extinguish  the  flame  of  discord  by 
the  blood  of  those  who  avowed  different  preferences  from  the 
will  of  the  British  Monarch.  If  in  the  hour  of  murderous  com- 
bat they  should  naturally  pray  for  their  own  personal  safety, 
would  not  the  prayer  be  blended  with  a  malison  on  their  oppo- 
nents, and  the  fervent  supplication  that  they  might  '  fall  ? '    And 


38  GIBRALTAR. 

should  the  latter  be  delivered  into  their  hands  as  *  prisoners  and 
captives,'  could  the  charity  that  bids  us  hope  all  things,  preclude 
the  apprehension  that  they  might  fare  no  better  than  my  own 
unhappy  countrymen  v^^hen  confined  at  Dartmoor,  or  in  the  re- 
ceiving hulks  upon  the  Thames  ?  ^^ 

If  these  reflections  be  deemed  too  severe,  I  can  only  say  they 
were  naturally  forced  upon  me  by  the  affecting  contrasts,  which 
I  could  not  but  observe  and  contemplate.  I  do  not  mean  to 
imply  that  England,  as  a  power,  is  more  cruel  or  hypocritical 
than  some  other  nations  who  bear  in  common  with  herself,  the 
name  of  Christian.  But  it  is  melancholy,  to  remark  the  feeble 
hold  which  true  religion,  —  defined  as  'the  wisdom  from  above, 
and  which  is  pure,  'peaceable,  and  gentle,''  —  exerts  over  the 
sentiments  and  actions  of  mankind  in  states  of  body  politic.  The 
symbol  of  the  cross,  whereon  the  meek  and  unresisting  Jesus 
bled  and  expired,  is  borne  on  banners  to  fields  of  conflict  and 
of  death  ;  and  contending  armies  invoke  vengeance  from  the 
same  impartial  Power,  to  descend  in  the  destruction  of  each 
other.  That  the  time  is  coming  when  wars  shall  universally 
cease,  and  '  garments  shall  no  more  be  rolled  in  blood,'  we 
know  on  the  authority  of  oracles  which  never  err.  Some  pre- 
sages are  abroad  in  the  earth,  which  seem  to  indicate  that 
a  juster  sense  is  beginning  to  be  entertained  of  the  true  interests 
of  the  human  family  ;  that  those  interests  cannot  be  detached 
from  the  duties  which  princes  and  subjects  alike  owe  to  the  great 
moral  Governor  of  the  world ;  wdien  their  happiness  will  be 
found  alone  attainable,  by  a  rigid  adherence  to  the  great  princi- 
ples of  equity,  forbearance,  and  brotherly  love,  and  when  every 
knee  in  unafl^ected  homage  shall  bow  to  the  One  Infinite  and 
Universal  King.  ^^ 

But  T  am  wandering  from  the  occasion  which  elicited  these 
remarks.  The  sermon  w^as  a  plain  and  unimpassioned  perform- 
ance. No  one  could  complain  of  its  length,  as  the  entire  period 
of  its  delivery  did  not  exceed  twelve  minutes.  In  style  as  well 
as  matter,  it  was  coldly  correct  and  classically  dull.  The  offi- 
ciating gentleman,  I  understood,  is  Chaplain  to  the  Governor, 


FEMALE  COSTUMES.  39 

the  Earl  of  Chatham.  The  motto  to  his  discourse,  —  for  text 
are  but  mottoes  with  most  of  the  English  clergy, — was  that 
clause  in  Luke,  — '  a  Light  to  lighten  the  Gentiles.'  A  gentle- 
man who  was  near,  whispered  me  when  this  was  announced,  — 
'  there  is  darkness  enough  round  here  to  be  dissipated;  —  the 
Barbary  shore  on  the  one  hand,  and  Spain  at  our  very  gates  on 
the  other;  —  deep,  deep  mists,'  he  added,  'of  ignorance, bigotry, 
and  superstition  to  be  scattered.'  And  he  spoke  significantly, 
though  not  half  the  truth.  As  an  Englishman,  he  too,  per- 
haps, was  exulting  in  the  proud  military  stand  his  country  was 
so  soon  to  take  on  the  fields  of  Portugal,  in  opposition  to  the 
intercession  which  deprecated  '  battle,  murder,  and  sudden 
death.' 

Leaving  the  church,  I  found  the  streets  filled  with  gay  and 
moving  crowds.  The  weather  was  mild  and  inviting,  and  peo- 
ple of  all  ages  and  conditions  were  tempted  abroad.  Spanish 
females  of  the  lower  orders,  were  distinguished  by  scarlet  cloaks 
which  were  not  ungracefully  worn.  A  hood  at  the  top  might 
serve  the  purpose  of  a  bonnet,  but  it  was  seldom  drawn  up. 
Ladies  of  Spanish  birth  v/ere  clad  for  the  most  part  in  the  Eng- 
lish costume,  save  the  attire  and  ornaments  of  the  head.  There 
was  this  pecuhadty  in  common  with  them  and  the  lower  orders, 
namely,  the  absence  of  bonnets.  In  place  of  these,  veils  were 
invariably  worn,  chiefly  of  black  and  figured  lace.  They  were 
square,  and  being  doubled,  were  drawn  over  the  crown  of  the 
head  a  litde  in  advance  of  their  combs.  Their  hair  was  much 
braided,  and  it  clustered  in  profusion  round  their  clive  brows, — 
leaving  enough  of  the  beautiful  swell  of  their  high  foreheads 
exposed  to  an  admirer's  gaze.  Their  eyes  are  uniformly  of  a 
piercing  black,  rather  small,  and  peculiarly  arch  and  significant 
in  expression.  They  possess  a  mobility,  if  I  may  so  speak, 
such  as  no  dark-eyed  damsels  of  New  England  know  how  to 
practise.  The  head  is  seldom  turned  to  gaze  on  a  stranger,  but 
the  eye  moves  as  the  object  passes  till  the  latter  is  completely 
gone  by,  —  moves  too,  as  though  it  were  capable  of  making  an 
entire  revolution  upon  its  pivot,  and  would  look  out  of  a  win- 


40  GIBRALTAR. 

dovv  behind.  I  can  easily  understand  the  witchery  of  such  an 
eye,  to  one  willing  to  yield  to  its  fascinations.  It  seems  pos- 
sessed of  every  variety  of  expression  from  a  melting,  yet  seduc- 
tive softness,  to  the  beaming  eloquence  of  an  impassioned  bril- 
liancy. In  stature  they  are  seldom  above  the  middle  height,  and 
their  forms,  as  a  general  rule,  incline  to  the  em  bon  point.  They 
walk  with  a  vibrating  movement  not  becoming,  for  it  looks  too 
much  like  the  studied  air  of  voluptuousness.  All  the  females, 
whether  high  or  low,  young  or  old,  were  provided  with  fans, 
which  they  occasionally  employed  to  screen  their  faces  from  the 
sun,  but  more  commonly  used  as  a  mere  plaything.  At  least, 
while  it  was  an  appendage  which  none  thought  they  could  dis- 
pense with,  it  would  puzzle  one  to  conjecture  what  else  it  really 
was  meant  for.  The  complexion  of  the  ladies  is  generally  a 
pale  olive,  with  a  slight  suffusion  of  dusky  red ;  while  that  of  the 
poorer  classes,  is  deeply  embrowned  to  an  almost  tawny  hue  by 
their  more  common  exposure  to  the  suns  of  this  fervid  clime. 

As  for  the  men,  the  more  genteel  ranks  dress  much  after  the 
English  mode.  A  few  Spanish  cloaks  are  seen,  but  most  of 
their  nationality  must  be  sought  in  their  features  and  mein.  In 
these  there  is  no  mistake.  The  Spaniard  is  tovjours  le  meme. 
Men  in  humbler  life,  however,  retain  pertinaciously  their  national 
or  rather  sectional  costumes.  The  natives  of  the  neighboring 
provinces  of  Andalusia,  Murcia,  and  Grenada,  appear  in  charac- 
teristic dresses.  Broad  brimmed  hats,  with  edges  slightly 
and  uniformly  rolled,  ornamented  with  velvet  tufts  and  other 
decorations,  —  vests  and  jerkins,  with  a  profusion  of  cord  and 
bell-buttons,  —  tight  small  clothes  of  black  velvet,  with  rows  of 
gilt  buttons  the  entire  length  of  the  outer  seams,  —  and  long  gai- 
ters of  divers  hues  and  textures,  are  among  the  more  obv^ious 
peculiarities. 

There  are  some  thousands  of  Spaniards  in  the  town,  forming 
full  two  thirds  of  the  resident  population,  which  altogether,  may 
be  estimated  at  fifteen  thousand.  The  Jews  are  a  pretty  nu- 
merous portion  of  the  residue.  They  enjoy  many  privileges, 
and  are  an  industrious  and  thriving  class.     The  poorer  sort  serve 


POLICE.  41 

as  porters,  and  are  strong  and  athletic  men.  Their  working 
days  are  but  five  in  the  week,  as  Saturday  they  religiously  ob- 
serve as  their  sabbath,  and  on  Sunday  they  could  find,  if  they 
would,  no  employment;  inasmuch  as  those  Christians  who  care 
litde  for  the  season  as  a  time  of  religious  rest  and  devotion 
make  a  point  of  consuming  it  in  idleness  or  amusement.  Sev- 
eral of  these  outcasts  of  Israel  have  been  named  to  me  as  very 
rich.     One,  probably,  is  the  wealthiest  resident  on  the  Rock. 

And  here,  by  the  by,  as  the  latter  term  has  just  dropped  from 
my  pen,  it  occurs  to  me  as  proper,  to  hint  the  general  designa- 
tions of  this  place.  Gibraltar,  —  I  mean  the  mass  of  habitations 
within  the  walls,  —  is  called  adlibitum,  Town,  Rock,  or  Garrison. 
It  is  never  spoken  of  as  a  City.  The  second  appelladve  is  more 
frequently  used  than  the  first.  It  is  sufficiently  expressive  ;  as 
the  mountain,  near  the  base  of  which  the  town  is  built,  seems 
originally  to  have  been  nothing  but  bare  rock.  Hence  the  epi- 
thet of  rock-scorpions  familiarly  applied,  not  in  jest,  but  sober 
earnest  to  all  born  within  these  crowded  walls.  Ask  of  any  one 
if  he  be  a  Scot,  an  Englishman,  or  Spaniard  ?  —  If  his  nativity 
were  cast  on  this  spot,  the  reply  will  be,  '  he  is  a  scorpion ; '  — 
rock  being  somedmes  dropped  as  an  expledve.  Garrison, 
however,  appears  to  be  the  most  common  name  applied  to  this 
congregated  medley  of  human  beings.  In  fact,  Gibraltar  is  only 
one  vast  citadel.  All  the  interior  arrangements  afFecdng  the 
civil  classes  of  the  population  are  regulated  by,  or  are  dependent 
on  the  will  of  the  acting  Governor,  —  always  a  veteran  soldier,-— 
or  such  subalterns  as  he  shall  employ.  The  police  is  military.  A 
town  Major  discharges  the  dudes  of  Mayor,  or  intendant.  A  mili- 
tary surveillance,  and,  virtually,  mardal  law  reigns  throughout. 
The  inhabitants,  polirically,  are  only  ciphers ;  yet,  knowing  the 
yoke  to  be  inevitable,  they  quietly  accommodate  their  necks  to 
it,  and  make  amends  to  themselves  by  the  money  which  gov- 
ernment liberally  disburses  among  them,  and  the  large  sums 
which  flow  into  the  place  through  the  channels  of  an  extensive 
foreign  commerce. 
6 


42  GIBRALTAR. 

Gibraltar  constitutes  a  little  nation  or  principality  by  itself. 
The  inhabitants  have  scarce  any  personal  intercourse  with  the 
neighboring  Spaniards,  except  when  they  come  to  the  Garrison. 
Algeziras,  the  venerable  ruins  of  Cartheya,  Gausin,  whence  large 
supplies  of  wine  are  annually  transported  hither,  and  other  inter- 
esting spots  within  a  limited  distance,  are  seldom  visited  by  them. 
If  a  merchant  on  business,  plan  a  visit  to  Cadiz,  Seville,  or  Mala- 
ga, he  goes  there  by  water,  and  never  thinks  of  journeying  by 
land.  It  is  rarely  safe,  and  in  the  present  disturbed  state  of  the 
adjacent  provinces,  it  could  not  be  hazarded  without  a  strong 
armed  escort.  Most  of  the  inhabitants  who  are  not  of  Spanish 
birth,  spend  whole  years  here  without  stirring  outside  the  lines. 
And  if  a  gentleman  make  an  excursion  beyond  the  neutral 
ground,  he  is  said  to  have  gone  to  Spain.  This  was  the  reply 
which  I  received  from  a  servant  of  the  house  yesterday,  when 
inquiring  for  the  landlord.  '  Gone  to  Spain? ^  I  repeated, — 
and  in  my  simplicity  bethought  myself  of  Barcelona,  Valencia, 
or  very  possibly,  Toledo,  and  Madrid.  —  To  Spain  indeed  ! 
This,  fancied  I,  looks  much  like  taking  French  leave,  perhaps  a 
flight  from  some  eager  creditor,  to  decamp  without  notice  to  an- 
other country.  Antonio  was  as  much  perplexed  by  my  sur- 
prise, as  I  was  at  his  vague  answer,  till  the  matter  was  cleared 
up  by  the  information  that  his  master,  with  a  friend,  had  rode 
beyond  the  frontier  for  recreation  on  the  beach.  Probably  his 
travels  on  this  occasion  in  the  dominions  of  King  Ferdinand, 
comprehended  a  circuit  about  twice  the  length  of  Church-street. 

I  should  remark,  in  concluding  my  sketch  of  the  occurrences 
of  yesterday,  that  at  the  evening  parade,  a  stand  of  colors  was 
presented  to  a  regiment  about  leaving  for  Portugal.  They 
were  given  by  a  lady,  with  the  usual  formalities  of  speeches, 
compliments,  and  military  salutes  —  the  reply  of  the  receiving 
officer  spoke  his  gallantry  in  either  sense  of  the  term. 

This  day  I  have  chiefly  devoted  to  an  inspection  of  the  arti- 
ficial wonders  of  the  Rock.  The  weather  was  uncommonly 
clear  and  serene,  and  a  better  opportunity  could  not  be  chosen 
for  enjoying  the  magnificent  prospects  from  the  topmost  peak. 


ASCENT  OF  THE  MOUNTAIN.  '  43 

For  a  survey  of  the  promontory  is  deemed  incomplete  till  the 
summit  is  gained,  and  the  spectator  looks  forth  on  the  panorama 
of  objects  around.  A  Bombardier  accompanied  me  to  the  quar- 
ters of  Sergeant  W.,  who  undertook  to  lead  me  up  the  ascent, 
through  the  windings  of  this  w^orse  than  Cretan  Labyrinth. 

But  how  shall  I  communicate  what  I  beheld  ?  To  describe 
what  is  indescribable,  or  what,  if  subjected  to  elaborate  descrip- 
tion, would  be  unintelligible,  I  confess  myself  little  inclined.  I 
had  read  a  score  of  labored  accounts  of  the  mysteries  of  this 
strong  hold,  and  thought,  at  last,  that  I  had  projected  in  my 
mind  quite  an  accurate  conception  of  their  structure  and  ap- 
pearance. ^^  But  I  have  found  myself  totally  in  error.  If  the 
reader  will  go  along  with  me,  and  patiently  take  up  with  such 
detached  notices  and  reflections  as  may  chance  to  offer,  I  shall 
be  glad  of  his  company,  and  will  endeavor  not  to  mistify  his 
mind  with  incomprehensibles. 

And  first,  let  us  glance  at  the  tow^n  we  shall  leave  behind.  It 
is  built  chiefly  on  ledges,  artificially  levelled  from  the  original 
slope  of  the  Rock,  on  its  northwest  side.  These  ledges,  whether 
used  as  streets  or  esplanades,  may  be  compared  to  shelves  or 
steps  cut  with  great  labor  and  precision.  The  houses  and  other 
buildings  thus  rise  in  successive  tiers  from  the  base  of  the  pro- 
montory, about  a  fourth  of  the  way  up.  At  the  foot,  and  in  ad- 
vance of  them  towards  the  water,  are  the  old  and  new  Moles,  — 
erections  upheaved  from  the  very  deep.  To  the  right  of  the 
town,  as  viewed  from  the  moles,  is  seen  the  high  wall  built  by 
Charles  the  Fifth,  which  is  carried  far  up  the  acclivity.  It  is 
as  useless,  for  the  purposes  of  modern  defence,  as  the  wall  of 
China.  The  town,  indeed,  has  pressed  over  and  beyond  it  to 
the  south,  not  minding  the  limits  which  it  was  designed  origin- 
ally to  aflSx  to  it.  All  the  lower  part  of  the  Garrison,  including 
the  Moles,  is  protected  by  very  strong  batteries.  They  line  the 
coast  as  far  as  Point  Europa,  two  miles  to  the  east ;  but  the 
principal  defences  are  to  be  sought  far  above.  Let  us  set  forth 
by  a  route  conducting  on  the  left. 


44  GIBRALTAR. 

The  first  object  of  peculiar  interest  which  meets  us  is 
an  old  Moorish  tower.  It  seems  to  stand  as  a  war-worn  senti- 
nel, to  the  dark  and  fearful  passages  in  the  mountain-bosom, 
which  stretch  beyond.  By  whom  the  tower  was  erected  is  not 
ascertained.  It  probably  is  a  monument  of  the  first  successful 
descent  of  the  Moors,  in  711.  Certain  it  is,  that  their  general, 
Tarik,  threw  up  some  military  works  shordy  after  his  debarka- 
tion ;  and  the  massive  strength  of  this  same  tower  may  have 
well  endured  from  that  remote  age.  That  conqueror,  })e  it 
noted,  gave  name  to  this  celebrated  rock,  —  Tarik,  by  con- 
traction, being  associated  with  Gibel,  an  Arabic  term  signifying 
mountain. 

Taking  up  the  line  of  march,  we  enter  a  subterranean  path 
leading  under  the  wall  of  the  garrison,  and  soon  come  to  the  first 
passage  within  the  solid  crust  of  the  rock.  It  is  a  vaulted  hori- 
zontal shaft,  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  in  length.  We  emerge 
from  it  to  enter  another  called  Wyllis'  gallery.  The  length  of 
this  is  something  more  than  a  hundred  yards,  and  its  breadth 
from  three  to  five.  It  is  dimly  lighted  through  the  embrasures 
for  cannon ;  and  what  with  this  dubious  sort  of  day  and  the  na- 
ture of  the  objects  displayed  around,  —  heavy  ordnance  re- 
posing on  iron  frames,  piles  of  balls,  bombs  and  other  terrible 
missiles,  and  doors  communicating  ever  and  anon  with  inner 
chambers  filled  with  warlike  stores,  —  the  feelings  excited  by 
the  survey  are  anything  but  cheerful. 

Mounting  still  higher,  we  come  to  a  longer  and  more  extra- 
ordinary excavation,  called  the  Windsor  Gallery.  It  extends  very 
nearly  a  tenth  of  a  raile  ;  and  like  the  former,  has  been  entirely 
blasted  by  powder.  Enough  of  the  rock  on  the  outer  side 
remains  to  serve  as  a  parapet,  or  shield^  impervious  to  ball,  even 
could  cannon  be  brought  to  bear  against  it.  But  its  elevation 
places  it  above  the  reach  of  the  longest  shot;  so  that  those  who 
serve  its  guns  in  times  of  siege,  are  perfectly  secure  from  the 
reach  of  assailants.  They  have  oni  v  to  pour  down  upon  the 
defenceless  heads  of  invaders,  showers  of  grape  and  shells. 


EXCAVATIONS.  45 

Besides  these  passages,  there  are  several  other  galleries  lined 
with  artillery,  and  wrought  with  extraordinary  toil  within  the 
outer  shell  of  the  massive  rock.  Staircases  occasionally  occur, 
hewn  with  great  regularity  :  also  flues  and  perpendicular  shafts 
for  ventilation  and  other  purposes.  Of  the  magazines,  there 
seems  no  end. 

There  are  two  or  three  spacious  and  lofty  apartments,  which 
altogether  in  boldness  of  design,  and  beauty  of  finish,  perhaps, 
surpass  the  other  wonders  of  these  interior  constructions.  The 
most  remarkable  of  these,  is  called  St  George's  Hall.  It  is  a 
stupendous  excavation  from  the  heart  of  a  turreted  crag,  which 
juts  naturally  from  the  surface  of  the  mountain.  Externally, 
it  has  much  the  appearance  of  an  artificial  tower.  Within,  an 
apartment  forty  yards  in  circuit,  and  proportionably  lofty,  has 
been  hewn  with  incredible  labor.  The  rock  forming  the  walls 
and  flooring,  has  been  perfectly  smoothed.  But  half  a  dozen 
yawning  port  holes,  and  a  circular  funnel  leading  through  the 
roof  for  the  escape  of  smoke,  sufficiently  indicate  that  other  pur- 
poses, than  those  of  mere  beauty,  were  consulted  in  this  curious 
structure.  Six  cannon  of  tremendous  calibre, —  sixtyfour  poun- 
ders,—  are  stationed  here,  ready  to  discharge  their  thunders  on 
any  daring  besieger  by  land  or  flood.  They  are  so  nicely  poised 
as  to  be  capable,  with  a  little  exertion,  of  being  pointed  in  any 
direction. 

Some  idea  of  the  extent  of  the  excavations  may  be  formed 
from  the  fact,  that  they  are  sufficient  to  receive  at  once,  the  en- 
tire garrison  of  Gibraltar;  and  the  troops  composing  it,  are 
never  less  than  five  thousand.  Not  only  in  the  galleries  would 
the  latter  be  completely  covered  from  an  enemy's  fire,  but  also 
in  passing  along  the  (ew  open  paths  edging  the  surface  of  the 
rock,  and  which  communicate  between  one  subterranean  post 
and  another.  For,  these  paths  are  all  guarded  by  high  parapets 
of  solid  masonry,  so  that  even  the  movements  of  the  soldiery 
along  them,  or  the  carriage  of  their  munitions,  could  not  be  per- 
ceived by  assailants  at  the  foot  of  the  Rock, 


46 


GIBRALTAR. 


Arrived  now  at  a  landing  on  the  military  road,  leading  to  the 
Signal  station,  let  us  pause  ere  proceeding,  and  cast  an  eye 
downward.  We  have  ascended  thus  far,  by  a  subterranean 
mazy  route,  which  the  appearance  of  the  rock  alone,  would  not 
prepare  one  to  expect.  The  outside  view  of  things  is  much  the 
same  as  left  when  rudely  fashioned  by  the  hand  of  nature.  But 
its  face  masks  the  most  potent  artificial  enginery  of  destruction, 
perhaps,  ever  concentrated  within  a  space  of  equal:  dimensions, 
in  the  universe.  And  for  what  object  ?  Why  in  fact,  —  for  it 
comes  to  this,  —  to  allow  John  Bull  to  say,  in  a  tone  of  defiance 
to  all  other  people,  '  You  shall  not  wrest  from  my  grasp  this 
rock,  with  the  means  of  annoyance  which  it  offers ;  or,  if  pre- 
suming to  question  my  title  to  it,  and  placing  yourselves  within 
reach,  you  shall  bear  the  vengeance  which  can  hence  be  instan- 
taneously hurled  on  your  devoted  heads.'  If  it  be  matter  then 
of  national  pride  to  possess  such  an  indomitable  strong  hold, 
alas,  how  paltry  is  the  thing  called  human  glory  !  Here  we  find 
men,  first  opening  the  flinty  bowels  of  this  huge,  frightful  preci- 
pice, —  not  for  the  sake  of  habitations,  —  for  the  fertile  earth 
elsewhere,  is  yet  quite  ample  enough  for  the  races  of  men 
that  people  it, — not  for  defences  against  wild  and  ferocious 
beasts,  as  in  the  infancy  of  society,  when  man  had  to  dispute 
the  occupancy  of  the  soil,  with  the  shaggy  monsters  of  the 
wilderness  and  wood.  But  these  works,  the  wonder  of  a  civil- 
ized age,  and  boast  of  a  civilized  people,  from  the  skill,  the  toil, 
and  the  treasure  they  have  cost,  were  constructed  for  the  pur- 
pose of  helping  man  to  inflict  the  greatest  possible  mischief  on 
his  fellow  man,  on  the  plea  of  assumed  self-interest,  or  the  spur 
of  the  basest  revengeful  motives.  Such  are  human  beings,  the 
direst  foes  of  their  own  species  !  Civilization,  for  the  most  part, 
seems  chiefly  to  be  prized  for  the  greater  powers  and  com- 
binations of  artificial  skill  for  mutual  annoyance,  which  it  fur- 
nishes over  and  above  the  means  of  mere  brute  and  untutored 
force.  Within  the  dark,  hollowed  passes  of  this  stern  mountain- 
cliff,  men,  civilized  men,  contentedly,  nay  proudly,  immure 
themselves  for  the  sake  of  plying  in  self-security  the  work  of 


SIGNAL  STATION.  47 

Strife  and  death  upon  others  of  their  species.  They  call  it  en- 
trenching themselves  for  the  purpose  of  glorious  warfare,  when 
occasions  for  waging  such  warfare  arise.  But  let  names  be 
changed,  and  the  dignity  of  this,  founded  as  it  is  in  deception, 
soon  vanishes.  Call  that  entrenching,  a  burrowing,  and  these 
boasted  '  galleries  and  halls,'  so  many  rocky  dens  and  length- 
ened caves,  —  consider  too,  bow  much  of  blood  has  been  shed 
in  contests  for  their  possession,  and  then  say  wherein  man  the 
civilized,  differs  from  man  the  savage,  or  either  of  them  in  sun- 
dry grovelling  and  ferocious  tastes  and  habitudes,  from  the  brute 
that  '  wants  discourse  of  reason.' 

Turning  from  the  spot  which  has  suggested  these  reflections, 
we  continue  to  ascend  by  abroad,  open  road,  carried  in  zig-zag 
lines  from  point  to  point,  up  the  mountain.  The  bare  uniform 
surface  of  rock  we  leave  behind,  and  enter  on  a  steep,  thickly 
strewn  with  large  loose  stones,  chiefly  masses  of  primary  marble. 
Among  their  openings  and  crevices,  some  varieties  of  shrubs, 
herbage,  and  even  flowers,  contrive  to  shoot,  and  with  a  luxu- 
riance, considermg  their  situation,  quite  surprising.  The  labor 
expended  on  this  part  of  the  route,  renders  the  ascent  much  less 
formidable  than  a  distant  view  would  suggest ;  the  mattock  and 
drill,  with  that  unfailing  agent,  gunpowder,  having  been  employ, 
ed  at  every  step  to  smooth  or  facilitate  the  way ;  so  that  mounted 
cannon,  and  heavy  military  stores,  may  be  transported  its  entire 
length  with  comparative  ease.  Approaching  the  Signal  Station, 
the  road  is  supported  in  several  places  by  artificial  walls,  at 
least  ten  yards  in  height,  —  the  labor  in  constructing  which,  as 
well  as  the  rest  of  this  spacious  pathway,  ceases  to  surprise 
after  contemplating  the  gigantic  works  of  human  hands  below. 

At  the  Station  are  very  neat  quarters.  A  sergeant  is  in  com- 
mand —  who,  in  company  with  his  young  wife,  who  seems  all 
contentment,  and  the  society  of  half  a  dozen  soldiers,  makes  out 
to  lead  a  somewhat  cheery  life,  even  in  his  secluded  Alpine 
aerie.  He  finds,  too,  a  source  of  profit  in  accommodating  visit- 
ers with  refreshments,  from  such  stores  as  he  contrives  to  fetch 
from  time  to  tim^,  from  the  garrison  below ;  and  better  still, 


48  GIBRALTAR. 

in  the  sale  of  baubles  and  trinkets,  wrought  from  specimens  of 
the  spar  taken  from  St  Michael's  cave  farther  up  the  mount. 
This  spar  is  intrinsically  very  beautiful,  and  is  susceptible  of  the 
finest  polish.  It  is  wrought  into  inkstands  of  divers  forms,  man- 
tel ornaments,  seals,  whistles,  —  even  necklaces  and  eardrops 
which,  when  set  in  gold,  are  not  inelegant. 

Provided  with  an  assortment  of  these,  as  memorials  for  other 
eyes  and  hands  hereafter,  once  more  under  the  conduct  of  our 
trusty  guide,  we  set  forth  on  the  last  and  topmost  stage.  A 
weary  walk,  —  no  longer  over  a  military  road,  but  a  rugged,  un- 
certain foot-path,  at  times  scarcely  traceable,  and  often  boldly 
steep  and  shelving,  —  leads  to  the  south  pinnacle.  That  gained 
at  length,  a  small  platform,  partly  natural  partly  artificial,  is 
reached,  which  commands  a  view  of  sublimest  interest. 

There  is  an  elevation  of  feeling  inspired  by  the  consciousness 
of  being  on  such  a  spot.  The  works  of  men  contemplated 
from  thence,  dwindle  into  insignificance  ;  and  the  races  of  men, 
sink  into  pigmies.  An  observer  forgets  that  he  is  one  of  the 
species  on  which  he  feels  privileged  for  the  moment,  to  look 
down ;  and  in  proportion  to  the  loftiness  of  his  station,  he 
experiences  a  kindred  loftiness  of  emotion,  and  is  seemingly 
advanced  to  a  correspondent  exaltation  in  the  scale  of  being. 

As  the  works  of  men  decline  in  importance,  when  surveyed 
from  such  a  commanding  reach  of  vision,  those  of  nature  are 
invested  with  new,  or  rather  they  assume  their  appropriate 
grandeur.  And  what  better  pinnacle  from  which  to  look  forth 
on  these,  than  this  majestic  height  of  Calpe  !  With  an  altitude 
of  fifteen  hundred  feet,  and  all  the  bolder  from  its  towering 
abruptly  from  the  water's  edge,  the  prospect  its  peak  affords, 
embraces  a  circuit  of  forty  leagues;  and  within  that  circuit, 
portions  of  two  mighty  seas,  and  of  two  vast  continents  are 
included.  On  the  African  shore,  the  eye  takes  in  extensive 
tracts  of  the  stern,  hard-featured  realms  of  Morocc  o  and  Fez ; 
and  in  Europe,  the  fertile  and  picturesque  territory  of  Andalusia 
comprehending  the  provinces,  which  anciently  were  the  king- 
doms of  Seville  and  Granada.     To   the  north  and  west,  we 


PROSPECT— ST  xMlCIIAEL'S  CAVE.  49 

descry  the  mountain  chain  which  separates  Southern  Andalusia 
from  the  rich  valleys  bathed  by  the  lower  waters  of  the  beautiful 
Guadalquiver.  On  the  east,  appears  the  taller  barrier  of  Sierra 
de  Ronda  ;  and  in  the  remoter  background,  the  snow-capped 
ridges  of  Sierra  Neveda  and  Alpuxarras.  The  harbor  of 
Gibraltar  beneath,  and  on  the  other  side  of  the  promontory,  the 
broad  bay  of  Catalan  with  its  graceful  sweep  of  blue  waters, 
under  the  serene  bright  sky  of  such  a  day  as  the  present,  come 
in  for  the  tribute  of  admiration  to  the  beauties  they  lend,  in 
completing  the  natural  features  of  the  magnificent  scene. 

These  are  objects  that  wear  the  grandeur  of  the  stamp  of 
durability.  Yet  man, — insect  man,  —  calls  them  his  domain;  — 
forgetting  his  own  ephemeral  being,  and  the  countless  generations 
of  his  species  who  have  passed  successively  away,  while  the  seas 
have  continued  to  roll,  and  the  mountains  around,  have  stood  on 
their  deep  foundations.  How  many  people,  in  diflerent  ages, 
have  visited  these  shores,  in  quest  of  traffic,  or  for  the  purposes 
of  conquest,  —  Phoenicians,  Egyptians,  and  Greeks,  in  remote 
anUquity  !  And  of  others,  how  many  have  claimed,  in  turn, 
the  sovereignty  of  this  rugged  strand,— Carthaginians,  Romans, 
Saracens,  Spaniards,  and  Britons  !  Yet  what  are  the  vesfiges 
of  their  sojourn  and  occupancy  ?  Gibraltar,  it  is  true,  remains  ; 
but  the  flourishing  towns  once  spread  along  the  coast,  which  Stra- 
bo,  Pliny,  and  Pomponius  Mela  described,  viz.  Cartheya,  Mela- 
ria,  Belo,  and  Besippo,  — exist  only  in  history.  A  few  shape- 
less ruins  seen  just  yonder,  serve  to  determine  the  site  of  the  first; 
but  with  the  others  have  been  buried  even  the  traces  of  their 
former  existence.  So  perishing  is  man,  and  so  perishable  are 
his  works,  while  nature,  regardless  of  the  idle  sway  he  usurps, 
outstands  the  long  roll  of  his  multiplied  generations,  and  bids 
defiance  to  the  changes  which  level  him  and  his  works  with 
the  dust.  1^ 

But  I  forget  in  my  musings,  the  grotto  of  St  Michael.     It 
is  an  object  truly  worthy  of  inspection.     A  short  detour  in  de- 
scending from  the  pinnacle,  conducts  the  visiter  to  its  entrance. 
The  first  floor,  which  approaches  nearly  to  a  square,  extends 
7 


50  GIBRALTAR. 

seventy  feet,  and  the  height  of  the  apartment  is  at  least  fifty. 
It  communicates  with  others  of  different  dimensions,  opening 
into  the  recesses  of  the  mountain ;  and  from  the  innermost  of 
them,  a  devious  passage  proceeds  to  a  depth  that  never  has 
been  explored.  The  love  of  marvel,  peculiar  to  the  vulgar,  has 
originated  the  notion  that  this  passage  extends  under  the  Straits, 
though  fathomless,  quite  across  to  the  opposite  continent.  An 
outlandish  breed  of  apes,  found  near  the  summit  of  the  rock, 
and  generally  near  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  exactly  like  those 
which  abound  in  Barbary,  has  been  appealed  to  in  support  of 
the  ridiculous  chimera. 

These  spacious  caverns  are  embellished  with  a  profusion  of 
ornaments,  which  nature,  in  one  of  her  sportful  moods,  has  most 
tastefully  supplied.  Crystallized  columns,  imitating  in  beauty  and 
variety  all  the  wonders  of  architecture,  support  the  fretted  roof. 
Some  of  the  spars  are  round,  some  conical  and  fluted,  some 
slender,  others  grand  and  massive,  —  but  all  pleasing  in  their 
very  irregularity.  Clusters  of  crystalline  formations,  in  the 
shape  of  isicles,  hang  from  various  parts  of  the  ceiling,  height- 
ening the  magical  effect  of  the  entire  assemblage.  The  white- 
ness of  the  spars  in  one  of  the  caves,  suggests  the  fancy  of  an 
ivory  hall,  —  the  gorgeous  saloon  of  the  Mountain  Genius. 

But  there  is  a  limit  to  the  pleasure  of  wonder ;  and  if  the 
reader  be  as  tired  with  the  description,  as  I  am  with  the  task  of 
gazing,  he  will  cheerfully  leave  with  me  even  this  scene  of  en- 
chantment, and  hasten  to  the  world  of  little  men  below.  As  we 
descend,  and  objects  in  the  bay  before  us  become  more  distinct, 
two  vessels,  of  superior  magnitude  to  the  others,  attract  attention. 
Their  double  white  streaks,  chequered  with  numerous  squares 
of  black,  denote  them  to  be  line  of  battle  ships,  (the  Melville,  and 
Windsor  Castle,)  which  are  just  arrived  for  the  purpose  of  trans- 
porting a  detachment  of  the  garrison  to  Lisbon.  A  flotilla  of 
barges,  diminished  by  distance  to  the  size  of  respectable  spiders 
creeping  over  the  waters,  are  seen  making  their  way  to  the  inner 
mole.  A  moving  throng,  like  a  swarm  of  emmets,  darkens  the 
quay      It  is  of  men,  assembled  to  witness  the  embarkation  of  a 


STRENGTH  OF  THE  FORTRESS.  51 

regiment,  which  the  barges  are  sent  to  convey  to  the  ships. 
On  a  signal,  the  crowd  of  spectators  separates,  and  the  troops 
march  into  the  open  space  which  is  left,  witli  drums  beating, 
colors  flying,  and  all  the  pomp  of  military  parade.  But  soon 
consigned  to  the  boats  in  waiting,  they  are  seen  floating  from 
the  shore ;  and  the  multitude  is  thrown  back  into  the  town, 
attracted  by  another  object.  ^* 

Arrived  at  the  foot  of  the  mount,  the  spectacle  meets  us. 
Church-street,  up  which  we  proceed,  is  filled  with  curious 
groups,  expecting  the  approach  of  a  regiment  to  succeed  the 
one  already  embarked.  The  doors,  windows,  and  even  roofs 
of  the  surrounding  buildings,  are  thronged  with  spectators  of  both 
sexes  and  all  conditions.  A  peal  from  martial  instruments  at 
length  proclaims  the  march  of  the  gallant  corps.  A  hundred 
musicians,  the  full  band  of  the  garrison,  precede.  The  soldiers 
in  fine  spirits,  with  burnished  arms  and  goodly  array,  move  to 
their  inspiring  notes.  Their  officers,  well  mounted,  grace  the 
pageant  if  they  do  nothing  more.  The  neighs  of  their  prancing 
war-steeds,  the  heavy  measured  tread  of  the  infantry,  the  swell 
of  the  majestic  music,  and  the  shout  of  mingling  huzzas,  are 
sufficient  to  stir  even  a  sluggish  bosom.  But  from  these  deaf- 
ening sounds,  from  the  elbowing  crowds  and  choking  dust,  an 
escape  is  at  last  welcome ;  and  with  pleasure,  I  find  myself  once 
more  in  the  enjoyment  of  comparative  quiet,  within  my  apart- 
ments at  the  King's  Arms. 

Jan.  10.  —  The  more  a  stranger  sees  of  the  defences  of  Gib- 
raltar, the  more  he  is  astonished  at  the  skill  and  labor  employed 
in  their  arrangement,  and  the  enormous  sums  expended  in  their 
construction.  The  northern  front,  it  should  be  remembered,  of 
the  Rock  is  naturally  almost  perpendicular ;  the  east  side  is  full 
of  frightful  precipices ;  while  the  south,  being  narrow  and  abrupt, 
presents  hardly  any  possibility  of  approach,  even  to  an  enemy  in 
command  of  the  sea.  On  neither  of  those  sides  therefore,  can 
this  tremendous  mass  be  considered  as  exposed,  and  it  has  neve 
been  attacked  from  them.  There  remains  only  the  western 
front,  which  is  almost  as  abrupt  as  the  others,  but  it  may  be  ap- 


62  GIBRALTAR. 

proached  with  shipping  from  the  bay,  and  presents  a  kind  of 
pied  a  terre,  in  the  comparatively  level  spot  on  which  the  town 
is  built.  Here,  accordingly,  have'  the  efforts  of  assailants  been 
directed,  and  here  are  most  of  the  great  batteries  and  works  of 
defence.  Yet  they  are  not  confined  to  this  face  of  the  Rock,  or 
its  more  immediate  base.  The  fortifications  extend,  as  I  have 
already  said,  all  along  the  shore  from  the  water-gate  to  Point 
Europa,  every  assailable  part  being  made  completely  defensible. 
The  coast  bristles  with  cannon ;  and  each  possible  approach  by 
land  or  sea  is  capable  of  being  swept  and  raked  by  innumera- 
ble cross-fires,  which  would  annihilate  an  enemy's  forces  in  near 
assault.  The  exact  number  of  guns,  mounted  and  kept  in  con- 
stant readiness  for  use,  is  five  hundred  and  sixtynine.  The 
largest  of  them  are  classed  as  sixtyeight  pounders.  The  big- 
gest howitzer  measures  thirteen  and  a  half  inches  in  calibre. 
Besides  this  immense  amount  of  ordnance,  there  are  one  hun- 
dred and  fifty  thousand  stand  of  small  arms  kept  in  the  arsenals 
of  the  garrison,  the  major  part  destined  for  distribution,  when 
needed,  to  other  stations.  There  are  a  number  of  provisionary 
reservoirs  for  water,  —  all  bomb-proof,  —  within  the  garrison,  to 
meet  the  exigencies  of  a  siege.  The  largest  are  capable  of 
containing  forty  tuns.  Every  article  of  food  for  the  support 
of  the  military  and  other  inhabitants  of  the  Rock,  being  ne- 
cessarily produced  elsewhere,  —  for  the  stock  of  vegetables 
furnished  from  the  few  garden  patches  within  the  garrison, 
is  too  inconsiderable  to  be  taken  into  account,  —  the  cost  of 
supplying  the  residents  here,  even  in  times  of  peace,  with  the 
necessaries  of  life,  is  very  great.  In  war,  such  cost  must  be 
materially  enhanced,  even  to  a  people  that  might  be  masters  of 
the  sea.  Barbary,  or  more  strictly  Morocco,  has  been  in  the 
habit  of  furnishing,  by  treaty,  two  thousand  bullocks  annually 
for  the  support  of  the  garrison ;  but  for  them,  the  Emperor  has 
taken  care  to  be  well  paid.  Many  other  supphes  are  drawn 
from  Portugal  and  Spain ;  and  a  large  portion  of  the  luxuries 
which  become  by  habit  so  many  necessaries  to  human  com- 
fort yearly  consumed  here,  must  be  brought  of  course  from 


COST  —  EXPEDIENCY.  53 

much  greater  distances.  On  the  whole,  the  cost  to  the  Eng- 
lish Government  for  maintaining  Gibraltar  is  prodigious ;  and 
a  fearful  sum  of  millions  sterling  might  be  footed  up  of  the  en- 
tire expenditure  since  1704,  when  it  fell  into  British  hands. 
The  incidental  disbursements  for  the  mere  purposes  of  show,  as 
well  as  convenience,  have  not  been  light.  For  to  the  south  of 
the  town,  a  beautiful  stretch  of  pleasure  grounds,  called  the  Al- 
meda,  has  been  laid  out,  or  rather,  created,  —  the  very  soil  for 
the  support  of  the  ornamental  trees,  flowering  shrubs  and  verdant 
parteeres,  having  been  deposited  there,  and  supported,  in  many- 
places,  by  firm-set  walls.  It  was  constructed  as  a  place  of 
recreation  and  promenade  to  accommodate  the  military  of  the 
garrison,  though  it  is  open  indeed  to  all;  and  well  it  is,  for 
by  the  former  it  seems  to  be  seldom  used.  The  Almeda  is 
indeed,  a  delicious  spot,  and  taking  into  account  all  its  embel- 
hshments,  it  is  quite  too  fine  for  the  place  and  object.  It  would 
form  a  more  suitable  appendage  to  a  nobleman's  mansion,  or 
even  a  palace,  than  this  grim  fastness. 

Now  the  question  is  natural.  Does  the  British  government 
derive  advantages  from  the  possession  of  the  Rock  at  all  com- 
parable to  the  sums  lavished  upon  it?  It  may  be  reasonably 
doubted.  Gibraltar  is  by  no  means  the  key  to  the  Mediter- 
ranean, I  mean  in  the  sense  in  which  the  expression  is  generally 
used.  For  it  has  never  been  necessary  for  an  enemy  to  ask 
permission  of  entrance  to  that  sea  from  the  British  authorities 
at  Gibraltar.  The  fleets  of  Spain  and  France  in  the  late  war 
passed  and  repassed  the  Straits  at  their  own  pleasure.  They 
-were  pursued,  it  is  true,  by  British  squadrons,  but  the  Rock  itself 
did  not  move  an  inch  from  its  foundations,  nor  could  it  fling  a 
single  shot  to  arrest  their  passage.  Had  they  entered  the 
harbor  indeed,  they  would  have  then  come  within  the  power  of 
the  fortress,  but  there  was  no  need  of  that ;  and  it  must  have 
required  great  pains  for  them  to  have  put  themselves  in  the 
reach  of  its  fire  at  all.  In  fact,  Gibraltar  alone  no  more  com- 
mands the  entrance  of  the  sea,  than  the  opposite  rock  of 
Ceuta.     It  is  doubtless  serviceable  to  the  English  as  a  place  of 


64  GIBRALTAR. 

depot  for  naval  supplies ;  but  they  already  have  other  stations 
for  those  objects  in  the  Mediterranean.  Besides,  Portugal  just 
outside  the  Straits,  has  its  harbors  ever  open  for  British  ships ; 
and  stores  to  any  amount  can  there  be  obtained  when  wanted, 
quite  as  cheaply  too  as  by  the  present  policy  of  garnering  them 
up  for  years  in  Gibraltar. 

The  wisdom,  moreover,  of  the  disbursements  which  have 
had  in  view  the  greater  security  of  the  post,  may  reasonably  be 
questioned.  Gibraltar,  to  all  intents,  was  sufficiently  guarded 
before.  It  has  withstood  three  famous  sieges  —  those  of  1705, 
'27  and  '81.  In  the  last,  the  power  of  artillery  was  tried  in 
every  shape  against  the  fortress.  If  then  the  utmost  means  of  ag- 
gression, directed  by  the  most  consummate  skill,  and  maintained 
with  sufficient  constancy  for  the  effect  of  full  experiment,  could 
avail  nothing  towards  its  reduction,  why  multiply  costly  bul- 
warks in  the  vain  notion  of  rendering  it  still  more  impreg- 
nable? 15 

There  are  but  two  methods  whereby  Gibraltar  can  be  re- 
duced, namely,  famine  and  treachery.  So  long  as  England 
continues  as  formidable  by  sea  as  she  now  is,  the  former  need 
not  be  apprehended ;  and  as  for  the  latter,  it  is  a  danger  little 
likely  to  occur  in  any  event.  It  would  seem  then  that  she  has 
been  expending  most  uselessly  a  large  part  of  the  sums  which 
she  has  prodigally  laid  out  upon  this  Rock,  at  least  for  the  last 
half  century.  The  people  of  England  are  duped  into  the  notion 
that  its  possession  is  of  vital  importance  to  the  best  interests  of 
the  empire  ;  and  contentedly  they  acquiesce  in  a  tax  to  keep 
up  a  post  which  flatters  the  national  pride,  and  furnishes  the 
government  with  another  pretext  to  maintain  a  large  muster-roll 
of  military,  and  to  feed  here  a  few  of  their  regiments  with  the 
costly  supplies  which  that  tax  annually  provides.  ^^ 


CHAPTER   III 


GIBRALTAR. 

Spanish  Lines.  —  A  Walk  into  the  Country.  —  StRoque.  —  Dulness  of  a  Soldier's 
Life  in  a  Garrison.  —  Impolicy  of  maintaining  Troops  in  Idleness.  —  Feelings 
of  the  Military.  —  Sternness  of  Army  Regulations.  —  Illustration.  —  An 
Afternoon  on  the  Mountain.  —  Arrival  of  the  President's  Message.  — Cry  of 
War.  —  England  and  the  United  States.  —  Dispositions  of  the  Moorish  Re- 
gency. —  Accommodations  in  Gibraltar.  —  A  Whimsical  Scene.  —  Literature. 
MrH— . 

King's  Arms.  January  11.  —  The  day  being  unusually 
serene  and  inviting,  I  concluded  to  devote  it  to  a  short  pedes- 
trian excursion  outside  the  lines  into  old  Spain.  Leaving  the 
landport,  I  crossed  the  neutral  ground  on  a  causeway  almost 
buried  in  sands,  and  stopped  to  admire  the  ingenious  sluices, 
and  other  contrivances,  by  which  the  neck  of  the  isthmus  can 
be  inundated  in  case  of  a  future  siege  of  Gibraltar.  A  popula- 
tion of  some  hundreds  is  crowded  in  wooden  houses  erected  on 
the  neutral  territory.  They  remain  there  only  by  sufferance. 
If  there  be  danger  to  the  garrison,  or  on  any  other  pretext 
which  may  be  thought  good  by  the  British  commandant,  the 
buildings  must  all  be  struck  and  removed,  like  so  many  tents, 
within  the  space  of  eight  and  forty  hours.  A  walk  of  a  mile 
brought  me  to  the  Spanish  frontier.  It  is  composed  of  a  line 
of  low  breastworks,  dirty  block  houses,  and  decaying  forts  of 
no  strength,  and  truly  contemptible  in  appearance.  The  names 
of  St  Barbe  and  St  Filippo,  which  designate  the  miserable 
works  erected  on  either  flank,  are  characteristic  of  the  super- 
stition of  the  people  to  w^hom  they  belong. 

Here  I  found  myself  among  groups  of  ill-clad,  noisy  soldiers, 
whose  fierce  air  and  scowling  looks  bespoke  no  encouraging 


56  GIBRALTAR 

welcome.  However,  they  offered  no  molestation,  though  the 
lips  of  several  muttered  as  I  passed,  an  execration  on  the  nation 
to  which  they  naturally  supposed  that  I  belonged,  and  about 
which  I  took  no  pains  to  undeceive  them ;  I  mean  Old  Eng- 
land. In  truth,  just  at  present,  the  grudge  they  bear  the  Eng- 
lish is  very  strong ;  and  it  is  blended,  somewhat  strangely,  with 
a  spirit  of  disaffection  to  their  own  government,  on  account  of 
arrearages  withheld  from  their  small  pay,  and  some  other  griev- 
ances of  which  they  complain.  Lrcaving  them  to  their  private 
troubles,  I  pursued  my  walk  by  a  path  which  led  down  to  the 
bay,  and  followed  the  windings  of  the  shore  for  two  or  three 
miles.  There  was  something  so  picturesque  in  the  scenery 
around,  that  I  frequently  paused  to  admire  it.  The  shore  was 
beautifully  curved.  The  waters  of  the  bay  were  blue  and  tran- 
quil. Algeziras  with  its  white  walls  looked  prettily  enough  in 
the  foreground.  On  my  right  the  face  of  the  country  was  suf- 
ficiently broken  and  varied  for  the  effect  of  landscape.  Gib- 
raltar rose  towering  in  the  background.  A  few  wayfarers  occa- 
sionally passed  in  the  peculiar  garbs  of  Andalusia.  The  scene 
was  enlivened  in  one  quarter  of  the  beach  by  a  company  of 
fishermen  engaged  in  dragging  their  net  ashore.  It  produced 
an  unusual  freight,  if  I  might  judge  from  their  merry  shouts,  and 
other  demonstrations  of  pleasure  on  hauling  it  to  land. 

The  country  on  leaving  the  shore,  I  found  mostly  unenclosed 
The  peasants'  houses  were  thinly  scattered.  They  are  built  of 
stone,  and  their  general  appearance  was  comfortless.  It  was 
not  unusual  to  see  small  plats  fenced  off  for  gardens.  But 
they  had  a  slovenly  look.  The  Barbary  aloe  is  chiefly  used 
for  live-hedging ;  and  no  plant  can  be  conceived  more  effec- 
tual. It  attains,  in  this  climate,  extraordinary  size  and  height. 
But  the  growth  of  the  prickly  pear,  {cactus  opuntia,)  struck 
me  as  far  more  wonderful.  Even  in  our  green-houses, 
at  least  in  New  England,  it  is  a  low  feeble  plant,  scarcely 
elevating  itself  a  few  inches  from  the  ground.  But  here  it 
shoots  up  its  broad,  sturdy  boughs  like  antlers,  to  the  height  of 
eight  and  even  ten  feet.     It  is  a  valuable  plant ;  for  it  is  a  pro- 


ST  RoauE.  57 

lific  bearer,  and  the  fruit  which  is  found  quite  palatable  on  a 
first  trial,  is  greatly  esteemed  by  those  who  use  it,  as  here, 
habitually.  This  cactus  is  sometimes  employed  for  hedging,  but 
more  generally  it  is  dispersed  in  little  plantations  surrounded  by 
the  broad-leaved  aloe  mentioned  before. 

With  these  partial  exceptions,  the  country  continued  open 
quite  up  to  St  Roque,  and  mostly  as  far  as  the  eye  could  stretch 
beyond.  I  do  not  mean  to  say  that  the  land,  though  unenclosed, 
is  uncultivated.  On  the  contrary,  some  beautiful  tracts  of 
tillage  were  observed,  and  the  fields  were  rich  in  many  spots, 
with  almost  vernal  verdure. 

I  have  already  remarked  upon  the  eligible  position  of  St 
Roque.  The  appearance  of  the  town  itself  is  pleasing  on 
the  exterior,  but  once  entered  the  charm  vanishes.  It  is  found 
badly  paved,  the  streets  are  narrow  and  dirty,  and  the  houses 
with  their  heavy  walls,  and  grated  lower  windows,  look  like  so 
many  small  prisons.  The  square  was  the  only  quarter  of  the 
town  that  betokened  animation.  It  was  occupied  chiefly  with 
military,  none  of  them  however  on  duty.  Some  of  the  soldiers 
were  drinking  on  benches  in  the  open  air ;  some  were  playing 
at  cards,  or  dice ;  some  were  asleep  on  the  bare  pavement,  and 
others  sauntering  idly  to  and  fro  in  the  open  square.  The  only 
object  which  claimed  attention  was  the  church.  I  hastily  in- 
spected it.  It  boasts  some  finery  in  the  shape  of  mean  pictures 
and  other  pious  gewgaws,  but  on  the  whole  it  is  a  sorry  concern, 
much  on  a  par  with  the  poverty-stricken  look  of  the  town 
generally. 

St  Roque,  as  well  as  Algeziras,  was  settled  in  the  early  part 
of  the  last  century  by  Spaniards  from  Gibraltar,  who  were  un- 
willing to  remain  under  the  dominion  of  the  English.  To  attract 
refugees  thither,  certain  municipal  privileges  were  granted  to 
both  towns,  but  they  are  now,  as  they  have  long  been,  in  a  very 
languishing  condition. 

On  my  way  back,  I  passed  two  or  three  crucifixes  erected  in 
lone  places,  to  indicate  scenes  of  murder.  The  sanctity  of 
these  memorials  is  piously  thought  to  make  some  amends  for 


58  GIBRALTAR. 

the  profanation  of  such  spots  by  the  hand  of  violence ;  and  the 
devout  Catholic  as  he  looks,  forgets  not  to  cross  himself  and 
ejaculate  a  prayer  for  the  souls  of  the  unhappy  victims. 

I  reached  the  land-port  just  as  the  sun  was  dipping  beneath 
the  bJue  waves  of  the  w^estern  ocean.  A  moment  after,  the 
evening  gun  fired,  and  the  heavy  gates  of  the  fortress,  swinging 
upon  their  clanging  hinges,  were  closed  for  the  night.  The 
unlucky  wanderer  who  chances  to  be  a  moment  too  late,  is 
obliged  to  take  up  his  quarters  in  the  neutral  suburb,  and  forget, 
if  he  can,  his  chagrin  in  sleep  till  the  morning  signal  for  unbarring 
the  entrances. 

Jan.  13.  — With  whatever  feelings  of  pride  Englishmen  at  a 
distance  may  contemplate  the  possession  of  Gibraltar,  those 
who  serve  on  the  station  heartily  detest  it  as  a  residence.  Both 
officers  and  men,  a  large  portion  of  whom  have  been  here  for 
several  years,  look  upon  it  as  a  place  of  intolerable  confinement. 
They  drag  out  a  monotonous  existence,  biting  the  chains  they 
are  compelled  to  wear,  in  other  words,  execrating  the  lot  which 
dooms  them  to  so  dismal  a  scene  of  exile.  The  round  of  duties 
of  today  must  be  acted  over  tomorrow.  They  are  for  the  most 
part  mere  military  forms,  which  indeed  are  of  necessary  ob- 
servance, but  yielding  no  variety,  they  are  exceedingly  weari- 
some. Parades  are  attended,  drills  practised,  guards  mounted 
with  much  the  same  dull  uniformity  that  a  mill-horse  treads  his 
plodding  circuit.  All,  in  the  intervals  of  duty,  have  abundance 
of  leisure,  and  the  very  amusements  devised  for  the  employment 
of  this,  become  by  repetition,  as  insipid  as  the  petty  details  of 
duty  itself.  There  is  a  good  garrison  library  open  to  the  officers, 
but  like  the  Almeda,  it  is  little  used,  I  mean  by  the  generality, 
even  for  the  purpose  of  an  occasional  lounge.  The  arrival  of 
a  ship,  particularly  a  mail  packet,  produces  by  the  circulation 
of  news  a  little  stir  upoa  the  surface  of  things,  like  the  ruffle  of 
a  transient  breeze,  but  it  soon  subsides,  and  a  dead  sea  calm 
once  more  prevails.  A  longing,  wishful  look  may  be  cast  on 
the  receding  sail ;  but  the  exile  cannot  move  along  with  it,  and 
he  finds  himself,  like  the  victim  fabled  of  old,  still  chained  to  a 
rock,  with  the  vulture  of  ennui  continuing  to  gnaw  at  his  heart. 


DULNESS  OF  A  GARRISON,  59 

A  soldier's  life  in  a  garrison  is  ever  complained  of  as  irksome. 
It  is  as  the  calm  experienced  on  a  sea-voyage,  which,  once  suf- 
fered, the  most  timid  ever  after  deprecate.  A  storm  is  pre- 
ferable. For  let  the  vessel  but  beat  against  adverse  gales,  it  is 
still  motion,  and  that  motion  is  exciting.  She  may  not  gain  at 
such  times  one  furlong  in  her  direct  course  ;  she  may  even  be 
endangered  by  the  fury  of  the  blasts  ;  but  anything  short  of  the 
prospect  of  a  perfect  wreck,  is  welcomed  rather  than  rest. 
Now  the  soldier  in  a  garrison  rests,  —  rests  from  the  toils  of 
marching,  the  perils  of  fighting.,  and  all  the  endurances  incident 
to  an  active  campaign.  But  rest  brings  apathy,  and  the  soldier 
pines  in  the  absence  of  wonted  excitement,  and  he  longs  to  be 
at  his  old  operation  of  cutting  of  throats,  though  in  so  doing  he 
hazards  his  own.  When  the  troops  ordered  to  Portugal 
marched  a  few  mornings  ago  to  their  place  of  embarkation,  the 
most  lively  joy  was  painted  on  their  countenances  ;  while  their 
comrades  who  were  destined  to  remain,  took  no  pains  to  dis- 
guise their  chagrin  that  they  could  not  go  with  them.  A  mel- 
ancholy condition  of  society  truly,  —  that  an  order  of  men 
should  be  separated  from  the  peaceful  walks  of  life,  to  occupa- 
tions professedly  militant;  that  armies  should  be  raised  and 
even  kept  on  foot  in  times  of  national  tranquillity  to  meet  the 
possible  occurrence  of  hostilities  from  abroad,  and  that  they 
should  be  trained  to  tastes  and  habits  which  can  only  be  exer- 
cised amid  scenes  which  humanity  deplores,  and  reason  and 
religion  unite  to  reprobate  ! 

But  war  now-a-days  is  happily  the  exception  to  the  rule. 
Yet  the  nations  of  Europe  keep  up  respectively  a  belligerent 
attitude,  certainly  their  belligerent  equipments*  The  armies  of 
them  all  are  enormous  in  proportion  both  to  their  population 
and  their  immediate  wants.  The  causes  and  consequences  of 
this  it  would  be  curious  to  examine  ;  but  the  topic  is  too  fruit- 
ful, and  if  followed  up  would  lead  me  far  from  my  present 
object.  I  confine  myself  to  the  statement  of  the  fact,  that  the 
sovereigns  of  Europe  are  maintaining  large,—  disproportionably 
large  —  standing  armies  j  yet  war,  I  repeat,  is  the  exception  to 


60  GIBRALTAR. 

the  rule.  It  is  contrary  to  the  established,  or  the  ostensible  policy 
at  least,  of  the  leading  powers ;  and  what  do  they,  with  their 
immense  forces  in  times  of  peace?  They  are  content  to 
keep  them  on  foot  for  the  mere  purpose  of  taking  the  field  with 
advantage  when  occasional  ruptures  occur,  and  they  suffer  them 
to  remain  wholly  useless  to  their  several  states  during  the  long 
intervals  of  public  quiet.  The  Romans,  on  the  contrary,  were 
accustomed  to  employ  their  soldiers,  on  the  cessation  of  arms, 
upon  works  of  public  utility.  They  were  not  suffered  to  be  idle, 
and  better  it  was  for  the  soldiers  themselves  as  well  as  for  the 
community,  that  they  were  kept  constantly  active.  Many  of 
the  noble  highways  and  aqueducts,  —  monuments  of  Roman  en- 
terprise, quite  as  memorable  as  were  the  conquests  of  Roman 
arms, — were  constructed  by  the  soldiery  both  of  the  republic  and 
the  empire  in  the  '  piping  times  of  peace.'  The  Roman  soldier 
was  taught  the  use  of  the  mattock  as  well  as  falchion ;  and  he 
knew  well,  —  nor  did  he  disdain  the  toil,  —  to  rear  the  triumphal 
arch  that  commemorated  the  victory  which  his  valor  had  as- 
sisted to  achieve.  Buonaparte  too,  who  has  read  many  a  useful 
lesson  to  the  crowned  legitimates  of  the  age,  took  care  that  his 
troops  should  never  rust  in  idleness.  The  respites  between  his 
campaigns,  and  the  intervals  of  garrison  duty,  were  not  listless 
breathing  spells,  —  mere  blanks  in  the  soldier's  life.  They 
were  applied  to  works  of  general  benefit,  works  no  ways  incon- 
sistent with  a  military  calling,  which  saved  his  men  from  the 
enervation  of  inactivity,  and  which,  far  from  abridging  their  self- 
respect,  or  devotion  to  him  and  his  cause,  made  them  truer  as 
well  as  hardier  patriots  and  soldiers. 

But  in  the  English  service,  such  employments  would  be 
deemed  derogatory.  The  profession  of  arms,  it  is  thought, 
would  be  sullied  by  uniting  with  it  the  knowledge,  or  at  least  the 
manual  practice,  of  arts  and  enterprises  purely  civil.  According- 
ly, in  times  like  these,  the  standing  force  of  the  crown  is  quartered 
in  numerous  garrisons,  pent  up  as  here  in  Gibraltar,  like  stalled 
oxen  fatting  against  the  day  of  slaughter,  —  both  officers  and 
men   seeking  relief  from  their  heavy  hours  in  reckless,  en- 


TEMPER  OF  THE  MILITARY.  61 

ervating  dissipations,  differing  simply  in  the  case  of  the  former 
by  the  absence  of  a  more  offensive  grossness,  or  in  being  what  is 
called  a  little  more  genteel.  Corrupt  themselves,  they  naturally 
corrupt  others  around  them  by  the  vices  which  idleness  and 
temptation  unavoidably  engender.  It  is  a  system  of  wickedness 
which  nurses  this  whole  order  of  things ;  the  guilt  of  which, 
though  not  confined  to  England,  applies  to  her  in  fearful  pro- 
portion, and  the  curse  of  which  will  one  day  fall  on  her  devoted 
head,  in  common  perhaps  with  other  nations  of  the  old  world, 
with  a  fulness  of  retributive  severity. 

I  speak  understanding^  of  the  disaffectedness  of  the  military  to 
Gibraltar  particularly,  as  a  place  of  residence.  I  have  conversed 
with  officers  and  privates,  and  all  unite  in  execrations  of  the 
Rock,  They  look  upon  it  as  ^  vast  prison.  And  truly  their 
disgust  seems  not  wholly  unreasonable.  For  the  fev/  days 
which  I  have  spent  here  are  quite  enough  for  my  own  con- 
tentment, and  if  they  were  to  be  multiplied  into  so  many  months 
or  years,  I  know  not  how  I  could  support  the  tediousness  of  such 
incarceration. 

From  what,  moreover,  I  have  thus  far  been  able  to  learn,  I 
am  satisfied  that  there  is  another  species  of  disaffection  not  so 
easily  cured.  I  have  uniformly  found  in  conversation  with  the 
subalterns  and  privates  of  the  garrison  as  they  have  fallen  in  my 
way,  a  hearty  dislike  expressed  to  the  service  in  which  they 
are  enlisted.  I  have  been  astonished  at  the  freedom  of  such 
confessions,  especially  as  I  have  heard  them  muttered  by  those 
who  did  not  know  me  to  be  an  American.  But  in  all  cases 
when  this  has  been  understood,  the  most  eager  inquiries  have 
been  made  relative  to  the  United  States,  and  the  strong  desire 
has  been  expressed  of  one  day  beholding  that  blessed  country, 
and  perhaps  finding  a  setdement  in  it.  It  is  not  surprising  that 
such  men,  early  kidnapped  for  the  most  part  directly  or  indi- 
rectly into  their  present  vocation,  and  removed  at  the  v/ill  of 
others  from  field  to  field  and  post  to  post,  over  the  surface  of  the 
globe,  should  have  their  attachment  weakened,  if  not  estranged, 
towards  their  native  land.     But  it  is  interesting  to  find,  that  if 


62  GIBRALTAR. 

they  care  little  for  the  country  of  their  birth,  they  are  not  indiffer- 
ent to  another  country,  preeminently  free  and  prosperous  beyond 
the  Atlantic,  and  that  thither  they  turn  their  eyes  as  to  a  land 
of  hope,  if  not  of  promise  to  themselves.  In  fact,  throughout 
Gibraltar,  there  is  a  strong  leaven  of  American  feeling  in  con- 
tradistinction to  that  purely  British.  The  frequency  of  arrivals 
from  the  United  States  keeps  up  a  knowledge  of  all  the  impor- 
tant events  transpiring  there.  Our  fine  vessels  which  enter  the 
harbor  with  their  commercial  freights,  and  now  and  then  a 
stately  ship  of  war  appearing,  as  if  to  give'a  protecting  look  to 
those  *  rich  argosies,'  are  specimens  of  the  wealth  and  power  of 
the  Republic.  Merchants  who  have  established  their  houses  here, 
and  who  conduct  an  extensive  and  lucrative  business,  are  men 
that  for  integrity  in  their  private  dealings,  general  intelligence, 
highmindedness  and  urbanity,  would  do  honor  as  the  represent- 
atives of  any  people.  America,  accordingly  is  well  known,  and 
being  known,  she  is  respected. 

I  have  met  thus  far  with  but  one  person  who  has  shown  any 
thing  like  dislike,  —  and  his,  apparently  is  a  most  cordial  one, 
—  to  the  government  and  people  of  the  United  States.  This  I 
found  in  a  Colonel  of  one  of  the  regiments  just  ordered  away. 
The  officer  is  noted  for  his  habitual  churlishness,  and  his  cynical 
state  of  feeling  towards  America  may  be  explainable  from 
his  having  learned  experimentally  the  skill  of  our  troops  in  sharp 
shooting,  while  opposed  to  them  on  the  Canada  lines  in  the  late 
war.  I  dined  in  his  company  a  day  or  two  since,  when  an  inci- 
dent occurred  which,  while  it  exhibits  his  character,  I  mention 
for  a  more  important  purpose,  viz.  to  illustrate  the  hardships 
often  resulting  to  individuals  from  the  sternness  of  military  regu- 
lations. 1  should  premise,  that  at  the  time  referred  to,  though 
the  troops  were  embarked  they  were  prevented  from  sailing  by 
contrary  winds,  and  the  officers  were  permitted  to  remain  on 
shore. 

During  the  dinner  the  Colonel  was  informed  that  a  woman 
was  without  who  was  very  anxious  to  see  him.  He  took  no 
notice  of  the  message.     An  hour  after  when  the  dessert  was 


SOLDIER'S  WIVES.  63 

served,  he  was  told  that  the  same  woman  was  returned  who  ap- 
peared to  be  in  great  distress,  and  she  begged  that  he  would 
grant  her  a  moment's  hearing.  The  ladies,  among  whom  was 
the  Colonel's  wife,  now  interposed,  and  earnestly  desired  him  to 
see  the  poor  stranger.  At  last  he  went  out,  but  soon  returned  as 
moody  as  he  left.  ^  Who  is  she  ? '  was  the  inquiry.  *  A  sol- 
dier's wife  of  the ,'  he  replied.     '  What  does  she  want  ?  ^ 

'  To  go  with  her  husband  to  Portugal. '  —  '  And  what  did  you 
say  ? '  —  'I  asked  if  she  had  drawn  her  lot  ?  She  answered,  she 
had,  and  it  was  a  blank ;  —  I  then  told  her  to  go  about  her 
business.'  — '  Is  she  gone  ? '  —  '  No,  I  left  her  whining  ! ' 

In  further  explanation,  it  is  proper  to  mention  that  on  the  or- 
dering away  of  the  detachments  from  the  garrison,  a  notice  was 
given  that  only  a  certain  number,  and  a  very  small  one,  of  the 
wives  of  the  soldiers  should  be  drafted  to  go  along  with  them. 
The  selection  was  to  be  determined  by  lot.  The  number  of 
wives,  —  lawful  wives  too,  according  to  all  the  statutes  of  God 
and  man  —  was  known  to  be  unusually  large  on  account  of  the 
long  stay  of  the  troops  in  this  place.  And  the  better  to  content 
the  latter,  marriages  under  such  circumstances  are,  at  least,  not 
discountenanced  by  government.  Families  of  children  had 
sprung  up  from  many  of  those  unions  ;  yet  children  and  mothers 
with  the  few  exceptions  just  intimated,  were  to  be  separated 
from  fathers  and  husbands  by  the  stern  operation  of  the  regu- 
lation prescribed.  Such  separations  are  often  final,  the  regi- 
ments being  ordered  from  one  place  to  another,  and  seldom  re- 
manded to  a  garrison  once  quitted.  Wives  who  are  natives  of 
England  are  sometimes  conveyed  thither  at  the  charge  of  gov- 
ernment after  the  departure  of  their  husbands ;  but  their  lot 
is  little  likely  to  be  improved  by  such  removal.  The  portion 
of  pay  which  is  occasionally  deducted  from  a  soldier's  pit- 
tance for  their  support,  is  irregularly  remitted,  and  for  the  most 
part  it  soon  ceases.  Thus,  women  and  children  are  thrown  as 
burdens  on  society.  The  difficuhies  of  gaining  an  honest  sub- 
sistence often  force  the  former  to  shameful  expedients,  and  the 
latter  are  early  hackneyed  in  the  courses  of  iniquity. 


64  GIBRALTAR. 

The  poor  woman  in  the  case  recited,  was  the  mother  of  two 
or  three  children  by  the  husband  from  whom  she  was  torn. 
There  was,  possibly,  no  discretionary  power  in  the  Colonel  to 
permit  her  accompanying  the  regiment ;  and  very  possibly  too, 
her  situation  was  not  worse  than  that  of  many  others  in  the 
garrison.  But  he  certainly  had  it  in  his  power  to  soften  the 
language  of  refusal,  and  not  add  by  his  rudeness  to  the  sorrow 
of  heart,  of  so  desolate  a  fellow  being. 

These  circumstances  may  serve  to  open  up  a  new  view  of 
the  miseries  of  war,  and  one  I  apprehend,  not  often  contemplated 
in  an  estimate  formed  of  its  varied  evils.  It  is  difficult  to  frame 
an  exaggerated  notion  of  all  its  sad  consequences.  How  much 
of  wretchedness,  and  how  much  of  crime  flows  from  this  foun- 
tain of  bitterness  !  The  policy  of  war  requires  soldiers  to  be 
looked  upon  as  mere  machines.  Yet  they  are  men,  with  all  the 
affections  and  instincts  belonging  to  the  species.  The  social 
connexions  which  the  dictates  of  nature  prompt  them  to  form, 
are  liable  to  be  dissolved  at  the  mere  will  of  men,  called  their 
superiors.  Passive  obedience  and  non-resistance  on  the  part  of 
the  many  to  the  orders  of  a  few,  are  necessary  to  keep  up  a  sys- 
tem so  foreign  to  the  beneficent  designs  of  Providence.  Provi- 
dence manifests  one  set  of  aims,  human  policy  another  j  and 
sophistry  is  put  in  requisition  to  justify  the  opposition.  In  the 
case  of  marriage,  —  the  soldier,  it  is  alleged,  knows  that  in  en- 
tering on  that  relation,  he  does  it  at  the  hazard  of  relinquishing  the 
sweets  of  such  a  union,  when  ordered  from  the  station  where  it 
has  been  formed.  Again,  the  nature  of  the  military  service,  it  is 
said,  will  not  admit  of  women  and  children  encumbering  a  camp, 
or  crowding  on  a  column  in  march.  Be  it  so;  yet  soldiers  will 
take  wives  if  opportunity  present,  and  wives  will  beget,  and  an 
offspring  be  born  not  to  gladden,  save  for  a  season,  a  parent's 
eyes,  —  not  to  share  in  the  privileges  of  paternal  protection  and 
culture,  —  not  to  grow  up  to  be  blessings  to  the  community  — 
but  turned  adrift  on  a  cold  and  heartless  world,  unschooled  in  any 
valuable  knov/ledge,  untrained  to  any  useful  art,  devoid  of  the 
principles  of  religion  and  morality,  and  ripening  from  their  child- 


i 


AN  AFTERNOON  ON  THE  MOUNT.  65 

hood  up  to  the  practice  of  crimes  which  will  consign  them  one 
day  to  die  jail,  the  gallows,  or  a  Botany  Bay  transport.  Ah, 
when  will  the  eyes  of  men  be  opened  to  the  enormides,  physical 

and  moral,  concentrated  in  the  meaning  of  that  one  word, 

WAR !  When  shall  they  unite  unsparingly  to  denounce  it  as 
alike  the  sin  and  scourge  of  the  human  race,  and  widi  heart  and 
hand  overthrow  the  entire  machinery,  in  the  shape  of  the  various 
artificial  and  unnatural  arrangements,  which  prepare  and  con- 
duct its  operations ! 

Jan.  14.  —  Sunday  in  Gibraltar  seems  more  of  a  holiday 
than  a  season  of  religious  devotion.  The  military  of  all  ranks 
display  their  most  showy  apparel,  and  other  classes  of  the  inhab- 
itants are  tricked  out  in  their  best.  For  several  hours  in  the 
morning,  there  is  a  constant  ebb  and  flow  of  the  numerous 
Catholic  population  to  and  from  the  Cathedral.  Prayers  are  read 
to  the  regiments  in  the  open  air.  At  the  hour  of  eleven,  there 
is  the  usual  thin  but  decorous  attendance  at  the  convent  chapel. 
But  these  dudes  or  forms  once  over,  visits  succeed,  dinners  are 
given  by  the  higher  classes,  amusements  are  sought  by  the  lower  ; 
the  streets,  ramparts  and  beautiful  walks  of  the  Aimed  a  are 
thronged  ;  and  men,  women  and  children  hie  equally  in  quest  of 
pleasure  wherever  it  invites. 

In  the  afternoon  I  took  my  pocket  bible  and  spy  glass,  —  mute 
but  not  unedifying  companions,  —  and  ascended  the  path  con- 
ducting to  the  North  Pinnacle.  Here  elevated  above  the  diz- 
zying crowds  in  the  town  below,  the  hum  of  whose  voices  and 
movements  rose  but  faintly  on  the  ear,  blended  with  a  more  grate- 
ful, and  ever  solemn  sound, —  the  low  murmur  of  the  ocean 
waves  as  they  fell  on  the  distant  rocky  shore,  —  I  found  myself  in 
a  seclusion  quite  as  congenial  to  serious  meditation  as  that  which 
Mirzah  chose  among  the  hills  of  Bagdad.  The  day  was  sunny 
and  serene.  The  {qw  sails  which  were  passing  the  Straits  to 
either  sea,  looked  like  bright  snow-flakes  spotting  the  blue  ex- 
panse. The  scene  in  general  was  that  of  perfect  repose.  Not 
a  cloud  flitted  across  the  face  of  the  heavens.  Nature,  through- 
out her  vast  temple,  seemed  to  consecrate  a  rest  in  homage  of 
9 


66  GIBRALTAR, 

that  Being,  who  laid  its  firm  foundations  and  spanned  the  majes- 
tic  structure  with  its  glorious  azure  vault.  I  remained  till  the 
sun  went  down  below  a  golden  horizon 5.  and  twilight  began  to 
cast  its  shadows  on  the  land  and  waters  beneath.,  The  African 
promontory  continued  to  reflect,  awhile,  the  beams  of  parting 
day,  and  behind  me  to  the  east  and  north,  the  snow-topped  peaks 
of  the  Andalusian  sierras  displayed  yet  longer  their  crowns  of 
glittering  light. 

I  must  not  omit  to  record  the  efFect  of  a  circumstance,  in  other 
respects  trivial,  but  considering  the  place  and  hour  by  no  means 
unimpressive ;  —  I  mean  the  report  of  the  evening  gun.  Just 
when  the  last  ray  of  the  sun  disappeared,  its  deep  roar  was 
heard,  wakening  the  slumbering  echoes  of  the  old  mountain, 
and  long  reverberating  from  crag  to  crag.  From  the  lofty  signal 
station  whence  the  report  proceeded,  a  volume  of  smoke  was 
seen  mounting  in  spiral  wreaths  till  dissolving  in  the  faint  haze 
which  marked  the  approaching  eve. 

Roused  by  the  signal,  I  prepared  to  descend.  Casting  a  lin- 
gering look  on  the  magnificent  natural  objects  around,  to  im-. 
press  more  durably  their  mingled  features  of  beauty  and  sublimity 
on  my  memory,  I  left  reluctantly  the  spot  and  made  my  way 
downwards,  in  a  frame  of  mind  not  unwarmed  by  the  con- 
templation of  the  power  and  glories  of  that  Being  who  holds 
the  waters  in  the  hollow  of  His  hand,  and  whose  is  the  strength 
of  the  everlasting  hills. 

Jan.  16.  —  The  arrival  of  the  President's  Message  today, 
excited  quite  a  stir  among  the  numerous  quid  nuncs  of  the  gar- 
rison. It  came  by  the  papers,  brought  by  the  Duke  of  York 
steamer,  direct  from  London,  —  the  Courier  and  Chronicle 
serving  it  up  at  full  length.  Portions  of  it  looked  a  little  squally, 
quite  enough  to  make  the  war-hawks  begin  to  pucker  their 
plumage.  The  commercial  and  military  residents  of  the  Rock, 
devoured  the  message  with  equal  avidity.  The  copies  being 
few,  numbers  were  unable  to  get  sight  of  it,  but  they  listened 
with  eagerness  to  the  reports  of  others  who  were  more  fortunate  ; 
and  its  tone  and  sentiments  lost  nothing  of  emphasis  by  such 


PRESIDENT'S   MESSAGE.  67 

second-hand  communication.  The  subject  was  in  everybody's 
mouth.  War,  which  was  first  spoken  of  as  possible  between 
the  two  countries,  w^as  soon  view^ed  as  probable  ;  and  by  night  it 
was  agreed  on  by  the  knowing  ones,  to  be  a  thing  inevitable. 

The  glimpse  w^hich  1  obtained  of  the  message  with  some 
difficulty,  satisfied  me  that  if  those  parts  of  it  which  touch  on 
the  pending  relations  of  the  respective  governments  be  not  alto- 
gether pacific,  there  was  nothing  in  them  to  warrant  the  antici- 
pation of  a  near  and  decided  rupture.  Besides,  whatever  might 
be  the  President's  private  opinions  and  wishes,  the  question  of 
W'ar,  so  far  as  depends  on  the  United  States,  must  be  deter- 
mined, not  as  in  England  by  the  King,  but  by  another  branch 
of  the  government  than  the  executive.  I  have  mentioned  this 
circumstance  to  a  few  of  our  good  friends  here  of  the  other 
side,  but  they  seem  little  inclined  to  adopt  my  conclusion  of  the 
improbability  of  a  war.  England,  they  allege,  cannot  brook  the 
language  of  the  message  if  she  would,  and  she  ought  not,  if  she 
could.  So,  fight  we  must.  These  gentlemen  very  benevolently 
protest,  that  they  cherish  no  grudge  against  America,  —  not 
they  ;  —  but  that  they  have  been  quite  long  enough  inactive ; 
and  as  they  reck  litde  of  the  '  breeze '  in  Portugal,  they  are 
glad  to  '  snuff  the  approach'  of  battle  from  some  other  quarter. 

Whatever  such  people  may  imagine,  I  apprehend  the  Bridsh 
government,  even  with  such  a  minister  as  Mr  Canning  at  the 
head,  is  too  wise  to  enter  the  lists  in  her  present  condition, 
without  far  stronger  reasons  than  appear,  with  a  power  like  that 
of  the  United  States.  It  would  be  preposterous  to  suppose  that 
any  litigated  points  of  policy  between  the  two  nations,  —  nations 
that  boast  their  love  of  justice,  their  liberality  and  wisdom, — - 
could  not  be  settled  by  amicable  nego;tiation  and  compromise. 
John  Bull  must  hav^e  learned  from  Iris  wars  of  a  thousand  years, 
—  or  he  is  a  dotard  beyond  hope  of  correction  and  reform  — 
that  a  few  commercial  advantages,  purchased  at  a  heavy  amount 
of  treasure  and  of  blood,  —  as  must  be  the  consequence  of  the 
happiest  issue  of  a  war,  —  are  rather  too  dearly  reached  and 
won.     His  ministers  cannot,  shut  their  eyes  to  the  palpable  diffi- 


68  '  GIBRALTAR. 

culties  of  conducting  the  machinery  of  government,  and  guard- 
ing the  complicated  interests  of  his  subjects,  even  in  times  of 
peace.  Six  hundred  millions  sterling,  added  to  the  old  national 
debt  of  England  since  the  French  Revolution  of  1789,  are 
somewhat  too  bulky  a  load  to  append  to  the  iron  harness  of 
war,  in  taking  the  field  with  a  young,  a  spirited  and  unshackled 
foe.  John's  shoulders  are  broad,  the  world  knows ;  but  there 
are  limits  to  every  physical  power  of  endurance.  The  weight  of 
an  ounce,  added  to  a  burden  already  enormous,  was  enough  to 
break  the  camel's  back. 

I  do  not  suppose  by  any  means  that  England  has  lost  her 
relish  for  war,  but  it  cannot  be  doubted  that  her  necessities  will 
compel  her  to  be  a  litde  more  cautious  in  gratifying,  for  the  fu- 
ture, that  costly  appetite.  If  fiftytwo  millions  of  pounds,  col- 
lected from  every  source  of  taxation  on  which  she  can  lay 
honest  hands,  are  requisite  for  the  support  of  her  government 
in  a  period  of  peace,  —  if  her  subjects  groan,  as  they  naturally 
must,  under  such  a  burden  in  addition  to  an  oppressive  sys- 
tem of  tything,  and  eight  millions  wrung  from  their  pockets  an- 
nually in  the  shape  of  poor  rates,  —  if,  with  a  starving  insurrec- 
tionary body  of  operatives  in  the  heart  of  her  kingdom,  and 
Ireland  at  her  door,  threatening  intestine  war,  and  already  on 
the  brink  of  a  volcano,  —  if,  with  these  facts  in  view,  her  minis- 
ters are  but  ordinarily  wise,  if  they  have  but  a  modicum  of  com- 
mon sense,  England  will  weigh  well  the  maxims  of  prudence, 
before  grappling  in  another  struggle  with  the  United  States. 
Such  a  struggle  could  not  be  popular,  just  now  at  least,  with  a 
large  portion  of  her  own  people.  Their  sympathies  would  at 
once  be  enlisted  on  the  side  of  the  American  Union.  For  they 
cherish  towards  the  United  States  feelings  of  brotherhood. 
They  view  our  people  as  '  bone  of  their  bone,  and  flesh  of 
their  flesh.'  That  there  is  a  large  class  of  such  liberal  minds 
in  the  British  nation,  I  abundantly  satisfied  myself  during  my 
residence  among  them,  although  it  followed  shortly  on  the 
conclusion  of  our  second  war.  And  nothing,  surely,  can  have 
since  occurred  to  diminish  the  numbers  of  such  well  wishers. 


ENGLAND  AND  THE  UNITED  STATES.  69 

The  general  current  of  political  events,  the  ties  and  interchan- 
ges of  commerce,  that  magical  something  called  the  spirit 
of  the  age,  which  all  understand  if  they  may  not  define  it,  — 
these'  have  tended  to  hring  the  great  and  intelligent  mass 
of  either  people  to  a  hetter  knowledge,  a  juster  appreciation, 
and  more  cordial  esteem  of  each  other.  Men  of  narrow  minds, 
others  of  jealous  vievvs,  and  some  of  vindictive  feelings,  —  a 
few  of  the  latter,  perchance  even  in  the  government  of  Great 
Britain,  —  these,  with  gentlemen  in  the  army  and  navy,  (yet 
not  all,)  may  wish  to  try  the  tug  of  war  one  day  again  with  the 
North  American  Republic.  Their  language  seems  at  times 
to  favor  such  an  inference ;  but,  the  lovers  of  peace  have  no 
reason  to  apprehend  a  rupture  between  the  two  countries  in  the 
present  state  of  English  affairs,  and  even  of  English  feeling 
generally  considered. 

I  am  supposing  that  the  harmony  of  the  respective  nations 
can  only  be  disturbed,  if  at  all,  by  hostile  movements  or  a  bel- 
ligerent attitude,  first  assumed  by  Great  Britain.  Sure  I  am 
that  the  cause,  if  it  operate,  must  work  in  that  quarter.  The 
policy  of  the  United  States  is  obviously  pacific.  It  is  her  inter- 
est to  cultivate  peace  with  all  nations,  and  especially  one  with 
whom  her  relations  are  so  intimate  as  with  England.  But  such 
a  peace  she  courts  as  rests  on  the  solid  basis  of  justice  and  re- 
ciprocal good  faith.  She  has  learned  to  respect  herself.  She 
has  passed  the  feebleness  of  national  childhood,  and  oudived  the 
immaturities  of  political  youth.  The  time  has  elapsed  when  it 
was  wise  in  her  to  ask  counsel  of  her  fears.  Though  a  nation 
of  yesterday,  she  has  sprung  into  vigorous  manhood,  and  whh 
rapid  step  is  advancing  to  her  appropriate  position  in  the  fore- 
most rank  of  civilized  powers.  Conscious  of  strength,  with 
tough-strung  sinews  and  full-bounding  blood,  she  seeks  peace, 
not  because  she  dreads  miscarriage  or  dishonor  from  war.  Pu- 
sillanimity is  no  word  in  her  vocabulary.  The  spirit  of  her 
motto  is,  —  '  Tuta  sub  cegideJ 

This  consciousness  of  national  strength,  adequate  to  all  the 
purposes  of  self-defence, —  a  strength  augmenting  and  develop- 


70  GIBRALTAR.  , 

ing  from  year  to  year,  — while  it  places  the  American  Union 
in  a  condition  to  repel  and  avenge  aggression,  would  be  enough 
to  elevate  the  government  and  people  above  those  paltry  mo- 
tives which  sometimes  stimulate  a  lust  for  war.  A  nation  un- 
known, or  known  but  to  be  contemned,  yet  conscious  of  a  cer- 
tain measure  of  power,  at  least  for  purposes  of  annoyance,  may 
wish  to  signalize  itself  in  combat,  and  gather  some  credit  for 
prowess.  This  is  more  likely,  when,  as  sometimes  it  happens, 
little  could  be  lost,  though  nothing  substantial  might  be  won. 
But  the  American  Republic  may  be  content  to  rest  its  reputa- 
tion for  valor  on  the  efforts  of  the  past.  It  fought  itself  into 
being  during  the  war  of  the  Revolution,  and  since,  it  has  borne 
not  ingloriously,  the  brunt  of  a  contest  with  a  Power  which 
claimed  to  be  the  mistress  of  the  seas.  It  entered  on  the  latter 
struggle  under  every  disadvantage.  Unhappily,  it  was  not  a 
war  of  the  People,  but  of  a  party.  The  public  mind  was 
divided  respecting  its  expediency.  The  leading  belligerents  of 
the  old  world  had  infused  the  leaven  of  conflicting  partialities 
among  the  citizens  of  the  Republic ;  and  British  and  French 
sympathies  contended  there,  as  elsewhere,  for  ascendency.  Our 
people  could  not  escape  the  opposing  biasses  then  abroad  among 
the  nations  of  the  civilized  world.  But  those  influences,  thank 
God,  have  passed  forever  away;  and  in  their  stead  has  sprung 
up  a  feeling  purely  American,  —  a  feeling  deep  and  all-pervad- 
ing,—  which  would  render  another  war,  should  it  occur,  truly 
national.  For  such  a  war  would  not  depend  on  the  caprice  of  an 
individual,  nor  of  a  junta  of  advisers,  such  as  constitute  a  prince's 
cabinet ;  but  it  could  only  be  declared  by  the  voice  of  the 
American  People,  expressed  by  the  proper  organs  of  the  national 
will ;  —  a  voice  which  would  be  withheld  so  long  as  the  arts 
that  make  for  peace,  and  the  gainful  and  humanizing  pursuits  of 
commerce  could  be  creditably  cultivated — but  which,  so  soon 
as  the  vital  interests  of  the  Republic  should  be  endangered, 
would  go  forth  with  a  thrilling  emphasis  from  the  ocean  to  the 
lakes,  and  be  echoed  back  from  the  remotest  borders  of  the 
Union. 


ENGLAND  AND  THE  UNITED  STATES.  71 

But  to  return  to  the  late  war  ;  the  United  States  entered  it 
with  crippled  energies  and  irresolute  spirits,  —  the  puhlic  mind 
then  perplexed  and  divided,  —  with  an  impoverished  treasury,  a 
naked  sea-board,  armies  that  existed  but  on  paper,  and  an  infant 
marine,  that  like  the  Hebrew  striphng,  was  to  set  forth  single- 
handed,  to  the  dread  encounter  with  the  GoHath  of  the  main. 
And  how  did  the  struggle  eventuate?  The  exploits  of  that 
little  marine,  and  the  memorable  affairs  by  land  of  Plattsburgh, 
Chippewa,  and  New  Orleans,  can  declare.  If  the  United 
States  be  forced  into  another  war  with  the  mother  country,  as 
some  of  the  hotspurs  in  the  British  army  and  navy  seem  to 
wish,  the  latter  may  find  that  for  one  stain  wiped  ofi'  from  their 
flag,  some  additional  ones,  very  possibly,  may  be  added.  For 
they  will  encounter  a  people  that  would  move  as  one  man,  a  peo- 
ple already  augmented  five  millions  since  the  termination  of  the 
last  conflict,  a  people  whose  shores  are  now  lined  with  effective 
fortresses,  and  whose  military  marine,  instead  of  being  confined 
to  a  few  frigates  and  war  sloops,  can  display  some  line  of  battle 
ships,  than  which  none  more  potent  ever  floated  upon  the  deep. 
Americans  would  come  to  a  new  combat,  —  if  come  to  it  they 
must,  —  with  the  inspiring  recollections  of  the  old  one,  —  sensi- 
ble that  they  have  a  name  to  maintain,  and  high  pledges  to  re- 
deem, as  well  as  interests  all  essential  to  assert  and  defend. 
Nor  is  it  likely  that  the  Republic  will  appear  on  the  arena  alone 
and  unsupported.  A  dispute  which  would  embroil  the  two 
countries,  would,  sooner  or  later,  involve  the  feelings  or  in- 
terests of  some  other  power.  The  scars  are  too  many  and 
deep,  which  England  has  inflicted  on  some  of  her  continental 
neighbors,  to  make  them  forget  the  old  grudges  which  they  owe 
her,  or  let  slip  an  opportunity  which  another  war  might  present, 
to  help  in  plucking  away  the  trident,  which  so  long  she  wielded 
to  abuse.  But  be  this  as  it  may,  the  United  States  as  a  people 
are  already  and  intrinsically  too  strong  to  fear,  too  just  to  give 
unwarranted  umbrage,  too  wise  to  sacrifice  their  prosperity  in 
chase  of  the  martial  phantom,  miscalled  glory,  yet  too  high- 


72  GIBRALTAR, 

minded  when  duty  shall  call,  to  suffer  the  sordid  riches  of  the 
most  gainful  traffic  to  outweigh,  in  their  estimate,  the  bright 
jewel  of  national  honor,  or  that  pearl  of  still  greater  price,  their 
dear-bought  liberty. 

The  Presidential  message  has  unexpectedly  furnished  me 
with  a  fruitful  theme.  1  recur  to  it  only  to  say  in  addition,  that 
whatever  might  be  thought  by  some,  of  its  tone  or  prognostics, 
none  could  refuse  to  accord  to  it  the  merit  of  a  profound  and 
lucid  state  paper.  The  views  which  it  presents,  of  the  foreign 
relations  and  domestic  concerns  of  the  United  States,  are  such 
as  extort  for  the  most  part  unqualified  gratulation.  They  are 
flattering  to  the  pride  of  an  American,  who  in  the  details  of  the 
message,  cannot  but  admire  the  enlightened  and  elevated  patriot- 
ism of  the  mind  that  composed  and  embodied  it. 

It  gives  me  pleasure  to  hear  of  the  respect  which  our  flag 
enjoys  in  the  eyes  of  the  neighboring  Barbary  power,  —  I 
mean  Morocco.  Mr  Mullowny,  our  intelligent  and  vigilant 
Consul  at  that  Regency,  is  now  on  a  visit  to  this  place  ;  and 
from  him  I  learn  not  only  the  continued  '  pacific  dispositions,' 
to  use  the  language  of  diplomatists,  of  the  Moorish  Divan,  but 
that  at  Tangiers,  the  flag  of  the  United  States  ranks,  as  he  calls 
it,  '  No.  1.'  It  can  be  no  news  to  our  people  to  be  told  that 
this  ascendency  of  the  United  States  is  founded  solely  in  fear. 
The  strong  naval  force  which  our  government  maintains  in  the 
Mediterranean,  is  an  effectual  curb  on  each  of  the  Barbary 
powers ;  and  by  occasionally  showing  itself  off  their  ports,  it 
gives  a  seasonable  admonition  of  the  means  of  redress,  ever  at 
hand  in  case  of  insult  or  wrong,  being  inflicted  on  our  com- 
merce. In  the  absence  of  such  a  force,  our  ships  would 
be  pillaged  as  mercilessly  as  of  old.  In  confirmation  of  such 
a  disposition,  I  record  an  anecdote  given  me  by  Mr  Mullowny. 
About  two  years  ago,  our  squadron  not  having  appeared  off 
the  Moorish  coast  for  a  considerable  period,  the  Emperor  in- 
dulged a  notion  that  it  was  wholly  recalled.  From  some  quar- 
ter the  insinuation  had  been  whispered,  that  the  United  States, 


MOORISH  REGENCY.  73 

discouraged  by  the  cost  and  difficulties  of  keeping  up  a  naval 
armament  on  so  distant  a  station,  bad  come  to  a  resolution  to 
commission  it  no  longer.  The  Emperor  began  to  talk  of  a 
restoration  of  his  old  relations  with  the  United  States  on  the 
basis  of  tribute ;  and  intimated  that,  as  his  military  stores 
needed  recruiting,  the  present  of  a  hundred  guns  with  their  car- 
riages, would  be  particularly  timely  and  welcome.  With  such 
a  pledge  of  \he  friendskip  of  our  government,  he  was  willing  to 
enter  into  closer  amity  with  it,  and  lend  his  cruisers  for  the  pro- 
tection of  our  commerce  !  Mr  M.  attempted  to  rally  his  high- 
ness out  of  these  fancies,  and  among  other  things,  reminded 
him  that  tribute  w^as  a  word  no  longer  known  to  die  United 
States  in  their  relations  with  any  powTr.  His  highness  thought 
it  was  a  very  good  word,  and  suggested  the  expediency  of  re- 
placing it  in  our  books.  In  short,  the  emperor  was  at  length 
somewhat  urgent,  and  his  requests  assumed  the  tone  of  dic- 
tation. 

Things  were  in  this  state,  when  one  day,  a  couple  of  sail 
were  descried  making  up  for  Tangiers,  which  proved  to  be  the 
flag  ship  of  the  American  squadron,  with  a  companion.  The 
commander,  when  in  the  offing,  communicated  as  usual  with 
the  consul,  and  was  soon  apprized  of  the  pending  dispo- 
sitions of  the  Regency.  The  ships  were  accordingly  brought 
to  the  mouth  of  the  harbor,  and  official  interrogatories  were 
immediately  addressed  to  the  court  respecting  its  present 
feelings,  and  proposed  line  of  future  policy  towards  the  United 
States.  The  note  of  preparation  for  business  of  another  nature, 
sounded  meamvhile  on  board  the  noble  ships ;  and  the  know- 
ledge of  this,  together  with  the  tenor  of  the  communications 
transmitted  to  the  emperor,  wrought  a  speedy  and  vrondrous 
change  in  his  feelings  and  views.  He  professed  the  most  entire 
acquiescence  in  the  policy  of  the  United  States,  as  interpreted 
by  the  commodore  and  consul  conjointly,— expressed  his  sat- 
isfaction that  the  Americans  were  sufficiently  able  and  wary  to 
look  after  their  own  trade  ;  and  that,  therefore,  he  would  by  no 
means  insist  on  the  privilege  of  taking  it  under  his  fostering 
10 


74  GIBRALTAR. 

wing  in  consideration  of  gratuities  in  any  form.  Waiving  all 
claim  ever  after  on  the  last,  his  highness  concluded  with  ex- 
pressing his  perfect /love'  for  the  government  and  people  of  the 
United  States. 

The  negotiation  being  thus  affectionately  terminated,  the 
commodore  took  his  leave  of  the  imperial  authorities  of  Tan- 
giers,  promising  to  renew  his  visit  of  respect  to  his  highness, 
very  shortly.  Ever  since  that  time,  by  the  occasional  repetition 
of  these  ceremonious  calls  off  the  harbor  of  Tangiers,  particu- 
larly for  the  purpose  of  inquiring  his  highness'  health,  the  em- 
peror has  continued  in  very  complacent  mood ;  and  in  place  of 
the  topic  of  tribute  to  the  amount  of  a  hundred  guns,  delights  to 
discourse  with  the  American  consul  on  the  virtue  of  national 
friendship,  and  the  prosperous  commerce  covered  by  the  brave 
flag  of  the  United  States. 

Morocco  has  always  a  number  of  representatives  on  the 
Rock,  attracted  hither  by  its  commercial  advantages  and  other 
inducements  of  residence.  I  have  noticed  a  few  turbaned 
Moslems  of  quite  imposing  appearance.  Their  tall  and  manly 
forms  were  well  set  off  by  their  showy  robes,  and  they  walked 
the  street  with  a  step  and  look  which  betokened  a  conscious- 
ness of  superiority  of  some  sort,  and  an  air  singularly  degage. 
Jews,  I  have  already  said,  are  numerous :  from  what  T  can  learn, 
they  cannot  fall  much  short  of  a  thousand.  They  are  an  orderly, 
sober  and  industrious  class.  In  an  earlier  page,  I  mentioned 
that  many  of  them  get  their  livelihood  by  the  hardest  of 
toils,  that  of  porters.  Some  of  them,  nevertheless,  are  well 
known  as  merchants  and  brokers ;  and  the  prosperity  of  one, 
the  reputed  possessor  of  great  wealth,  is  indicated  by  a  mansion 
which  he  has  built  in  Commercial-square,  which,  for  size  and 
cost,  compared  with  other  houses  in  Gibraltar,  may  be  almost 
called  a  palace.  The  ground  in  its  neighborhood  commands 
the  highest  prices,  and  the  site  alone  of  the  edifice  is  a  posses- 
sion of  no  small  value. 

As  for  rents,  I  know  not  where  they  are  quoted  at  more  ex- 
travagant rates.     The  landlord   of  the  King's  Arms  where  I 


RENTS  — SUPPLIES.  75 

lodge,  informs  me  that  he  pays  three  thousand  dollars  per  an- 
num, for  the  hhe  of  his  house  ;  and  it  is  one,  which,  in  point  of 
commodiousness,  would  not  in  Boston  rank  much,  if  any,  above 
third-rate  inns.  Shops  of  three  floors,  narrow  and  poorly 
lighted,  let  in  Church-street,  for  rents  varying  from  one  hun- 
dred, to  one  hundred  and  forty  dollars  a  month.  This  partly 
explains  the  dearness  of  almost  every  article  of  personal  or 
family  use,  w^hich  is  vended  in  Gibraltar.  Even  British  goods 
<ire  sold  at  prices  greatly  exceeding  those  at  w^hich  they  may 
be  had  in  most  of  the  American  sea-ports.  On  some,  the  ad- 
vance of  cost  is  duplicate  compared  with  that  in  the  mother 
country.  Add  to  this,  the  expense  of  importation  charged 
on  almost  every  article  of  food,  —  bread  stuffs  being  brought 
from  England  and  often  from  places  more  remote,  milk 
and  vegetables  from  Spain,  beef  from  Barbary,  mutton  from 
Genoa,  wine  from  Portugal  and  other  parts  of  the  peninsula, 
beer  from  British  breweries,  and  even  butter  and  cheese  from 
Biitish  dairies,  to  say  nothing  of  teas,  coffee,  and  sugar  from 
other  climes ;  —  everything  must  be  paid  for  at  rates  always 
high,  and  sometimes  most  exorbitant. 

Water  itself  is  brouglit  to  the  Rock  by  the  Andalusian  peas- 
antry ;  the  quantity  collected  in  the  public  and  private  cisterns, 
being  altogether  too  scanty  for  the  wants  of  the  inhabitants.  It 
is  carried  about  in  small  casks  on  donkeys,  and  sold  from  door 
to  door  for^tvvo  rials  (25  cents)  the  load,  or  about  fourpence 
of  Massachusetts  currency,  by  the  keg.  Fuel,  judged  by  an- 
other rule,  is  also  very  dear,  for  its  consumption  is  too  sparing 
for  comfort.  Though  the  weather  has  been  prevailingly  tem- 
perate, —  about  as  much  so  as  the  middle  of  a  New  England 
May,  —  yet,  two  or  three  days  have  been  sufficiendy  keen 
and  blustering,  at  least  for  one  of  my  nerves  and  habits.  I 
did  not  note  the  thermometer,  but  ice  was  formed  of  the  thick- 
ness of  a  dollar.  During  those  days,  the  grates  of  the  King's 
Arms  were  somewhat  grudgingly  fed ;  and  either  brisk  exercise 
without,  or  top  coats  worn  when  within,  along  wdth  the  hope  of 


76  GIBRALTAR. 

kindlier  skies  in  prospect,  were  the  chief  resources  for  imme- 
diate relief  and  comfort. 

The  period  of  cold  to  which  I  refer,  has  been  spoken  of  as 
unusually  severe  for  the  climate  ;  bat  having  no  meteorological 
tables  to  consult,  I  am  unable  to  verify  the  popular  opinion. 
Any  one  of  common  observation  must  have  remarked  a  dispo- 
sition among  men  to  pronounce  a  trifling  anomaly  in  the  state 
of  the  weather,  as  very  extraordinary,  if  not  unprecedented. 
A  spell,  so  called,  — a  little  more  hot  or  cold,  dry  or  moist, — will 
be  gravely  set  down  by  people  whose  memories  scarcely  run 
back  beyond  a  month  or  a  season,  as  a  phenomenon  that  hap- 
pens not  above  once  in  a  dozen  or  a  score  of  years.  Tabular 
figures,  giving  the  ascertained  ranges  of  the  thermometer  and 
barometer,  often  furnish  curious  commentaries  on  such  sage 
opinions. 

Having  mentioned  the  article  of  milk  as  furnished  from  the 
neighboring  Spanish  districts,  I  should  except  the  quantity  sup- 
plied by  the  goats  owned  in  the  garrison  ;  and  their  number  is 
considerable.  The  latter  ought  not  to  be  overlooked,  as  they, 
have  occasioned  in  my  walks  their  share  of  amusement.  These 
goats  are  owned  separately  by  private  families,  but  each  morn- 
ing they  are  collected  into  a  herd  under  the  care  of  hinds  ap- 
pointed for  their  oversight,  and  driven  forth  to  browse  on  the 
mountain.  Their  leaps  and  gambols  among  its  rugged  acclivi- 
ties, are  frequently  entertaining ;  but  the  proofs  which  they  give 
of  docility  and  intelligence,  are  chiefly  remarkable.  They 
seem  to  have  instinctively  come  under  the  military  discipline 
that  reigns  throughout  the  garrison. 

About  sunrise,  two  or  three  goatherds  set  forth  to  collect 
them,  beginning  at  one  end  of  the  town  and  proceeding  thro'igh 
the  principal  streets,  to  issue  at  the  opposite  gates.  The  animals 
are  found  self-stationed  at  the  doors  of  the  little  courts  of  their 
masters'  dwellings,  or  where  the  houses  are  situated  down  lanes, 
or  built  upon  the  elevated  terraces  considerably  removed  from 
the  main  thoroughfares,  the   docile  creatures  place  themselves 


ANIMAL  SAGACITY- BOOKS.  77 

in  due  season  at  the  corners  of  the  passages,  ana  patiently  wait 
for  the  coming  up  of  the  main  body.  When  it  arrives,  they 
drop  in  of  their  own  accord,  and  move  onward  with  the  increas- 
ing mass,  till  the  space  without  the  walls  is  gained,  when  they 
separate  and  take  care  of  themselves  for  the  rest  of  the  day. 
Towards  evening,  and  seasonably  before  gun-fire,  they  form 
themselves  again  in  battalion,  and  commence  the  line  of  march 
back  to  the  garrison.  The  order  and  gravity  they  display  in 
pacing  their  slow,  homeward  steps,  and  the  quaint  look  of  the 
motley  herd  as  they  are  seen  entering  through  the  massive 
gates,  and  deep  mural  passages  of  the  fortress,  are  whimsical 
enough,  especially  in  contrast  with  the  objects  around.  But 
onward  they  move  under  their  trusty  captains,  all  unconcerned 
by  the  din  and  bustle  about  them,  till  arriving  at  their  respective 
quarters  or  neighborhoods,  when  the  matter  of  mock  solemnity 
ceases.  Then,  every  one  skips  from  the  ranks  to  the  well 
known  gate,  and  darts  down  this  dark  alley,  or  leaps  up  that 
narrow  street-stairway,  glad  to  repay  with  their  milky  stores, 
the  shelter  sought  in  their  comfortable  nightly-  hyres. 

There  may  seem  to  be  no  natural  connexion  between  this 
species  of  animals  and  the  race  of  authors  and  booksellers, 
(save  on  some  such  hypothesis  as  Dromo's  in  the  novel,  who 
suggested  that  betwixt  goats  and  philosophers  an  affinity  must 
subsist  from  the  circumstance  of  both  wearing  long  beards,)  but 
be  the  case  as  it  may,  I  am  reminded  as  my  notes  on  Gibraltar 
are  drawing  to  a  close,  that  I  have  said  nothing  of  the  state  of 
literature  in  the  town  generally.  This  topic,  however,  may  be 
despatched  in  a  few  words.  Literary  tastes  and  pursuits  seem 
quite  foreign  to  the  Rock.  Of  booksellers'  shops,  there  is  not 
one  within  the  walls.  Here  and  there  a  shelf  may  be  found 
in  the  corner  of  some  miscellaneous  warehouse,  where  a  ^e\Y 
dictionaries,  hornbooks,  classical  readers,  and  copies  of  common 
prayer  are  kept,  but  nothing  else.  Occasionally,  a  novel,  or 
the  last  poem,  or  a  number  of  a  review  or  magazine,  straggles 
into  the  garrison,  but  even  these  are  scarcely  noticed.     There 


78  GIBRALTAR. 

is  a  Commercial  Library,  it  is  true,  but  it  was  established,  or 
certainly  is  retained,  as  a  mere  matter  of  form,  —  the  books 
being  '  wisely  kept  for  show ; '  and  the  few  residents  who  re- 
sort to  it,  are  attracted  thither  by  the  newspapers  which  are 
spread  daily  upon  the  table.  As  for  literature  as  a  topic  of 
conversation,  it  appears  to  be  seldom  introduced.  In  fine, 
however  valuable  Gibrakar  may  be  as  an  emporium  of  other 
merchandise,  the  bibliopolists  of  Pater  Noster  Row,  must  find 
it  a  wretchedly  poor  mart  for  the  disposal  of  their  commodities. 
There  is  a  newspaper  published  here,  but  it  does  no  great  honor 
to  Gibraltar.  It  is  quite  a  Lilliputian  curiosity,  being  printed  on 
a  small  octavo  demi-sheet,  and  serving  up  only  some  meagre 
British  news  taken  from  the  ministerial  mouth-piece,  along 
with  weekly  lists  of  arrivals  and  departures  of  shipping. 

On  the  whole,  Gibraltar,  aside  from  its  military  constructions, 
and  the  grand  natural  features  of  the  surrounding  scenery,  has 
not  much  to  offer  to  interest  a  stranger.  A  day  or  two's  obser- 
vation of  things  is  enough  to  satisfy  him ;  and  if  his  stay  be 
much  longer  it  becomes  wearing.  How  the  inhabitants  con- 
trive to  live  here  from  year  to  year,  I  scarcely  know.  The 
grace  of  contentment  is  what  few  of  them,  I  believe,  can  lay 
any  claim  to.  But  with  the  military,  the  stern  will  of  their  su- 
periors, and  with  the  mercantile  population  the  love  of  gain,  are 
the  master  motives  which  bind  them  to  a  spot  virtually  as  insu- 
lated and  confining  as  a  sejour  on  Pitcairn's  island. 

I  should  be  ungrateful  not  to  add  in  this  place,  that  in  several 
families  where  I  have  been  received,  1  have  not  only  found 
warm  hearts  but  polished  and  agreeable  society.  The  rule 
which  a  traveller  should  observe,  not  to  allude  too  pointedly  to 
families  whose  courtesies  may  be  extended  to  him,  is  liable  to 
some  exceptions  ;  and  I  feel  myself  constrained  to  allow  one  on 
the  present  occasion.  Under  the  hospitable  roof  of  Mr  H  — , 
I  have  passed  a  few  flying  hours,  the  remembrance  of  which  will 
be  ever  cherished.  It  was  there  that  the  '  maladie  du  pays,' 
which  had  begun  to  prey  upon  my  spirits,  was  sure  to  be  chased 


SOCIETY.  79 

away.  Mr  H.  is  a  gentleman  of  great  persona]  worth  ;  and  in 
addition  to  the  pleasure  of  his  society,  the  refined  mind,  engaging 
conversation  and  accomplished  manners  of  Mrs  H.  —  a  lady 
who  has  moved  in  the  choice  circles  of  the  metropolis  of  New 
England,  —  offered  attractions  to  their  house  which  could  not 
but  draw  and  rivet. 

The  thought  of  bidding  adieu  to  such  friends  is  indeed  pain- 
ful ;  but  for  all  other  considerations,  the  prospect  of  quitting 
Gibraltar  is  unmixed  with  regret,  and  I  hail  my  near  departure 
from  the  Rock  in  the  light  of  a  pleasant  emancipation,  ^'^ 


CHAPTER   IV 


PASSAGE    UP   THE    MEDITERRANEAN 

British  Packet.  —  Shore  of  Algiers.  —  Features  of  Sardinia.  —  Cagliari.  —  Tru- 
pani.  — Scenes  of  the  Vth  Book  of  the  ^Eneid.  —  The  vEgades.  —  Pantel- 
laria.  —  Second  View  of  its  Beauties.  —  Appearance  of  Goza.  —  First  Glimpse 
of  Malta.  —  Arrival  in  the  Grand  Harbor.  —City  and  Suburbs.  —  The  Par- 
Jatorio.  —  English  and  American  Flag-ships. — Ceremony  of  Hoisting  their 
Colours.  —  Quarantine  Eslablishment  and  Regulations.  —  Strictures.  —  Ob- 
servations on  Small  Pox.  —  Sketch  of  a  Lazaretto.  —  Removal  to  La  Va- 
letta. 

At  Sea.  Jan.  21. — It  is  now  four  days  since  I  left  the 
Straits,  and  commenced  my  voyage  toward  Malta.  I  embarked 
in  a  British  Packet  which  touched  at  Gibraltar  to  exchange 
mails.  It  was  an  opportunity  which  I  was  glad  to  improve. 
The  accommodations  on  board  are  good.  The  Packet  has  the 
equipment  of  a  war-brig,  and  bearing  a  commission  from  the 
Admiralty,  is  allowed  to  carry  a  pendant.  She  proves  a  fine 
sailer  and  is  worked  by  a  large  complement  of  hands. 

The  commander,  who  is  a  first  rate  officer,  is  not  deficient  in 
general  information.  Unfortunately,  his  mind  is  a  bundle  of 
prejudices,  which  may  partly  be  explained  by  his  Scottish  ex- 
traction, but  it  would  have  been  well  if  his  opportunities  of 
observation  had  served  to  modify  them.  His  nadonal  predilec- 
tions are  amusingly  strong ;  and  as  for  the  United  States,  he 
has  but  a  small  stock  of  affection  to  dispose  of  in  that  quarter. 
I  have  gathered  enough  from  him  to  find  that  in  common  with 
some  others  of  his  countrymen,  he  would  be  quite  as  well 
satisfied  if  the  American  Union   were  somewhat  feebler,  less 


SHORE  OF  ALGIERS.  81 

prosperous  and  enterprising  ;  if  its  population  were  but  half  its 
present  amount ;  if  its  marine  were  less  spirited  and  valorous, 
and  its  commerce  should  be  confined  to  the  bays  and  rivers  of 
the  Republic,  instead  of  extending  itself  over  every  sea.  He 
pays  the  best  tribute  which  a  foreigner  can  be  expected  to  render 
to  the  United  States,  —  next  to  a  cordial  liking  of  our  national 
character  and  institutions,  —  namely,  a  jealousy  of  our  growth 
and  spreading  influence  as  a  people.  As  on  the  other  hand,  I 
am  not  much  disposed  to  suffer  anything  to  be  subtracted  from 
the  well  earned  pretensions  of  my  native  country  to  respect,  and 
as  with  all  my  admiration  for  what  is  truly  great  and  noble  in 
England,  I  do  not  profess  an  abounding  love  for  its  government 
and  policy,*  —  the  captain  and  myself  have  already  had  some 
colloquial  sparring,  which,  however,  is  conducted  con  amove, 
and  generally  discussed  over  a  social  glass  of  old  Port. 

Our  voyage  thus  far  has  been  propitious.  We  lost  sight  of 
the  mountains  of  Grenada,  the  morning  after  our  departure 
from  the  Straits.  The  sea  is  enlivened  by  many  passing  sails. 
Of  the  larger  of  these  vessels,  a  full  third  prove  to  be  those  of 
the  United  States.  Today  a  rugged  coast,  not  unpicturesque 
in  its  blue  waving  outline,  has  been  discerned  on  our  right.  It 
is  the  shore  of  Algiers.  One  while,  we  had  run  down  pretty 
near  it,  quite  as  much  so,  indeed,  as  we  could  wish.  It  would 
not  be  a  desirable  shore  to  be  stranded  upon,  nor,  should  such 
an  untoward  event  happen  to  us,  would  the  people  be  the  most 
hospitable  into  whose  hands  we  might  chance  to  fall.  Yet,  the 
ancient  territory  of  the  warlike  Numidians,  the  land  of  Massi- 
nissa  and  Jugurtha,  could  not  be  contemplated  with  entire  in- 
difference. A  glance  being  enough,  we  are  hoping  for  a  change 
of  wind  which  may  admit  of  a  different  shaping  of  our  course, 
and  we  shall  be  well  content  to  take  a  last  look,  with  the  parting 
sun,  of  the  territories  of  the  modern  Bluebeard. 

*  It  will  be  remembered  that  the  above   was  written  when  Mr  Canning 

was  at  the  head  of  the  British  Government.     No  one  will    dispute  that  he 

was  a  great  man  and  a  consummate  statesman  ;  but  never  probably  since  the 

days  of  Lord  North,  was  there  a  minister  less  friendly  to  the  United  States. 

11 


82  MEDITERRANEAN 

Jan.2(S.  —  Gulf  of  Cagliari.  Sardinia.  The  Medi- 
terranean is  a  pleasant  sea  to  navigate,  from  the  numerous 
shores  which  it  offers  to  greet  the  eye  of  a  voyager.  The 
contrast  with  the  monotony  of  an  Atlantic  passage,  is  very 
striking.  Yesterday  we  came  within  sight  of  Sardinia.  By 
noon,  we  had  approached  the  island  sufficiently  close  to  discern 
the  features  of  its  coast  with  considerable  minuteness.  They 
were  by  no  means  attractive.  The  country  wore,  for  the  most 
part,  an  uncultivated  and  even  savage  aspect;  and  our  observa- 
tion embraced  many  leagues  of  shore,  as  its  boldness  allowed 
us  to  sail,  for  several  hours,  very  near  it. 

The  country  was  chiefly  covered  with  wild  dwarf  shrubs,  of 
a  kind  which  I  could  not  exactly  determine.  A  few  towers, 
round  or  square,  similar  to  those  which  I  had  remarked  upon 
the  Spanish  shore,  were  scattered  like  distant  sentinels  along  the 
coast.  Standing  so  uniformly  separate,  they  rather  added  to  the 
solitariness  of  the  scene.  We  looked  long,  in  vain,  for  some 
inhabitants.  At  length,  two  men  were  seen  wending  their  way 
along  a  narrow  foot  path,  through  the  brown  underwood, 
towards  one  of  those  lone  towers.  They  were  armed,  and 
though  dressed  in  shaggy  sheepskins,  their  appearance  must 
have  greatly  belied  them,  if  they  were  not  more  savage  than 
the  animals  in  whose  spoils  they  were  clothed.  We  watched 
them  attentively  as  they  drew  nigh  the  rude  structure  which 
blocked  their  way.  There  was  no  door  to  it,  nor  any  com- 
munication visible  from  below.  Two  or  three  grated  windows 
were  all  the  openings  seen  above.  As  they  came  up,  a  ladder, 
apparently  of  ropes,  was  let  down  by  some  person  in  waiting, 
from  one  of  the  windows,  by  which  they  mounted  and  gained 
ingress  to  their  grim  looking  abode.  The  ladder  was  then 
drawn  back  and  nothing  more  was  seen  of  them. 

This  circumstance  would  incline  us  to  augur  indifferently  re- 
specting the  state  of  general  confidence  and  security  among  the 
inhabitants  at  least  of  the  coast.  Indeed,  if  we  may  credit  the 
few  travellers  who  have  penetrated  the  interior  of  the  island,  a 
scarcely  better  condition  of  things  can  prevail  there.     Sardinia 


SARDINIA.  83 

with  its  fruitful  soil  and  temperate  climate,  and  though  placed  in 
a  position  most  eligible  for  trade  and  commerce,  languishes 
under  a  wretched  government,  and  its  population  is  hardly  ad- 
vanced beyond  the  pale  of  barbarism.  Known  to  the  ancients, 
colonized  by  the  Carthaginians,  subsequently  possessed  by  the 
Romans,  and  still  later  occupied  by  the  chivalrous  Saracens,  — 
a  dependence,  moreover,  for  generations  on  a  respectable  crown 
of  continental  Europe,  and  situated  under  the  very  eye  of  the 
civilized  w^orld,  —  it  continues  and  seems  destined  to  remain  in 
a  state  of  insignificance,  poverty  and  depression.  The  vice- 
regal court,  an  ignorant  clergy,  and  a  few  dissolute  individuals 
among  the  noblesse,  drain  the  soil  of  its  scanty  profits  ;  and 
how  small  these  must  be,  may  be  inferred  from  the  fact,  that 
the  total  exports  from  the  island  do  not  exceed  half  a  million 
sterling.  Meanwhile  banditti,  we  are  told,  roam  the  mountains 
and  infest  extensive  wastes ;  and  the  honest  part  of  the  peas- 
antry are  obliged  to  arm  in  self-defence,  to  content  them- 
selves with  the  precarious  means  of  bare  subsistence,  and,  — 
too  far  from  the  protection  of  the  feeble,  indolent,  and  licen- 
tious court  of  the  Viceroy,  —  they  know  for  the  most  part  no 
laws  but  of  their  own  formation. 

Let  us  view  the  subject  in  another  light.  Sardinia,  with  all  its 
geographical  advantages,  and  agricultural  and  commercial  capa- 
bilities, actually  embraces  a  territorial  surface  about  one  fourth 
larger  than  the  state  of  Massachusetts.  Whereas  the  latter, 
with  every  disadvantage  of  soil  and  climate,  numbers  a  popula- 
tion exceeding  by  one  fourth  the  total  of  the  inhabitants  of  this 
naturally  favored  isle.  In  point  of  intelligence,  wealth  and  en- 
terprise ;  and  in  the  circumstances  of  social  condition,  there  can 
be  no  comparison  between  the  two  people.  Yet  the  free,  en- 
lightened and  flourishing  inhabitants  of  Massachusetts,  constitute 
but  a  twentyfourth  part  of  the  entire  population  of  the  United 
States,  whose  earliest  colonial  setdements  date  back  scarcely 
beyond  the  short  period  of  two  centuries,  —  instead  of  the  more 
than  two  thousand  years  during  which  Sardinia  has  been  oc- 
cupied.    Such   is   the    difference   wrought  by    a   government 


84  MEDITERRANEAN. 

established,  as  with  us,  on  just  principles,  originating  and  admin- 
istering wise  and  equitable  laws,  poised  and  sustained  by  public 
sentiment,  and  venerated  by  those  over  whose  interests  it 
watches  with  a  fostering  and  paternal  solicitude. 

Alas,  for  the  poor  Sard  !  What  he  was,  when  visited  by  the 
Carthaginian  navigator,  he  remains  substantially  at  the  present 
day.  Neither  civilization  with  its  lights  and  blessings,  —  neither 
the  sciences  nor  arts,  —  nor  yet  Christianity,  with  its  softening, 
refining  and  beneficent  influences,  —  privileges  which  have 
been  scattered  bountifully  over  many  other  lands,  —  seem  to 
have  exerted  or  diffused  any  permanent  general  good  on  this 
unfortunate  islander.  To  all  intents  and  purposes,  he  continues 
severed  from  the  fellowship  of  civilized  nations. 

The  capital  of  the  island  is  situated  at  the  bottom  of  the  bay 
of  Cagliari.  It  bears  the  same  name.  The  bay  itself  is  truly 
superb.  Whole  fleets  might  ride  here  in  safety,  in  all  kinds  of 
weather.  We  were  standing  across  it  with  a  gentle  breeze  this 
morning,  when  the  wind  died  away,  and  currents  have  been 
setting  us  gradually  inward.  We  are  surrounded  with  vessels 
waiting  like  ourselves  for  the  kindly  evening  zephyr.  We  can 
determine  little  else  than  the  site  of  Cagliari,  the  town  being 
chiefly  built  low,  and  the  view  of  it  being  screened  by  a  small 
island  called  Pietra-Laida.  On  consulting  a  description  of  it, 
I  find  nothing  to  tempt  the  wish  of  a  nearer  approach,  much 
less  a  visit.  The  town  is  said  to  have  few  pretensions  to  the 
name  of  a  capital,  the  streets  being  miserably  paved,  and  not 
more  than  twenty  feet  in  width.  The  superstition,  or  perhaps 
piety  of  the  inhabitants,  is  indicated  by  the  number  of  churches 
and  religious  houses  contained  in  a  town  of  somewhat  less  than 
thirty  thousand  people ;  of  the  former  there  being  thirtyeight, 
and  of  monasteries  and  nunneries  no  less  than  twentythree. 

Cagliari  is  worthy  of  notice  from  the  spirited  stand  made  by 
its  inhabitants  against  the  government  in  1796.  Oppressed  by 
a  grievous  load  of  taxes,  and  encouraged  by  the  progress  of  the 
French  Revolution,  they  rose  in  insurrection,  and  caused  the 
Piedmontese  Viceroy,  with  all  the  individuals  of  his  court,  to 


THE  iEGADES.  85 

be  sent  off  the  island.  Other  towns  and  districts  followed  the 
example  of  the  Cagliarites.  The  result  was,  that  after  two 
years  of  contention,  the  King  granted  a  general  pardon,  declared 
that  the  Cortes  should  assemble  at  least  once  in  ten  years,  and 
confirmed,  nominally,  all  the  ancient  laws,  customs,  and  privi- 
leges of  the  inhabitants. 

Jan.  28.  —  Off  Favignana.  On  the  evening  of  the  26th, 
the  wished  for  breeze  filled  our  canvas,  and  the  Packet  bore 
away  gallantly  on  her  course.  The  next  day  we  made  the 
coast  of  Sicily  ;  but  it  was  then  too  remote  to  furnish  other 
matter  of  observation.  At  dawn  this  morning,  we  were  up  with 
the  island,  — Capo  di  Cofano  being  a  Httle  ahead  of  us  ;  —  and 
to  me  it  was  a  pleasing  reflection  that  even  Palermo,  ('  la  Felice  ') 
was  scarce  ten  leagues  distant  to  the  east.  But  our  course  lay 
in  another  direction.  We  bore  down  for  the  jEgades,  a  trio  of 
islets  situated  off  the  main  coast  near  Trapani.  Though  terri- 
torially small,  they  are  not  without  historic  interest,  having  made 
some  figure  in  elder  times,  particularly  in  the  first  Punic  war. 
Maritimo  saluted  us  first ;  then  Levanso,  with  its  bold  rugged 
headlands ;  and  next  Favignana,  under  the  lee  of  which  we  are 
glad  to  shelter  ourselves  from  adverse  blasts.  The  bay  of  St 
Giacomo  now  opens  before  us.  We  are  standing  in  under  our 
close  reefs,  and  hope  soon  to  ride  in  smoother  waters  than  those 
which  we  have  buffeted  the  last  few  hours. 

As  we  have  pursued  our  course,  Trapani  on  our  left  has  been 
an  object  of  interest.  Its  spires  and  turrets,  the  tower  of  the 
venerable  cathedral,  the  castle  on  Sigia  Point,  and  the  tapering 
light  house  on  Columbara  Rock  have  been  plainly  visible.  The 
town  is  built  at  the  foot  of  Mount  St  Julian,  the  ancient  Eryx, 
an  eminence  of  lofty  and  striking  form,  which  is  crowned  with 
dark  and  massive  structures.  Among  these  we  distinguish  a 
tower  of  singular  prominence  near  the  western  angle,  and  at  the 
other  extremity,  an  old  Saracenic  castle  whose  batriements  have 
survived  the  wastes  of  centuries.  From  the  Mount  a  noble 
aqueduct  is  seen  stretching  toward  Trapani,  conveying  thither 


86  MEDITERRANEAN. 

the  virgin  waters  of  the  springs  of  St  Julian.  In  the  neighbor- 
hood are  various  religious  liouses,  besides  villas  and  cottages  ;  of 
the  former  we  identify  by  the  chart  those  of  St  Anna,  St  Helena 
and  St  Francisco.  But  by  far  the  grandest  is  the  Carmelite 
convent  of  the  celebrated  Madonna  of  Trapani,  an  institution  of 
great  wealth  from  the  benefactions  of  numerous  devotees.  ^^ 

This  Trapani,  (anciently  Drepanura,)  is  memorable  in  classic 
story.  It  was  here,  if  we  may  credit  the  Mantuan  bard,  that 
^neas  landed,  when  bearing  up  from  the  Lilybceum  promonto- 
ry, —  per  '  vada  dura  *  *  ^  saxis  ccecis,''  —  he  sought  a  haven 
for  his  fleet,  and  his  aged  sire  found  the  welcome  rest  of  a 
sepulchre. 

Hinc  Drepani  me  portus  et  illatdbilis  ora 
Accipit. 

It  was  here  that  on  his  return  from  Carthage  on  the  following 
year,  he  disembarked  afresh  in  sight  of  Acestes  who  stood, 


excelso  miratus  vertice  montis 


Adventum,  sociasque  rates, 


and  then  hasted  to  welcome  him  with  a  rude  but  overflowing 
hospitality.  Here  too  he  presented  his  votive  ofierings  on  the 
tomb  of  Anchises,  and  celebrated  the  funera]  games  —  ^  solem- 
nesqne  ordine  pompns,''  —  in  honor  of  the  old  man's  memory. 
And  on  the  neighboring  strand,  that  catastrophe  occurred,  — the 
burning  of  four  of  the  hero's  galleys  —  when  the  Trojan  matrons, 
instigated  by  Iris,  weary  moreover  of  wanderings  and  allured 
by  the  soft  clime  and  fruitful  shores  of  Sicily,  attempted  the  en- 
tire destruction  of  the  little  squadron.  Trapani,  in  short,  with  its 
immediate  neighborhood  of  land  and  flood,  enjoys  the  honorable 
distinction  of  being  the  scene  of  the  incidents  described  in  an  en- 
tire Book,  namely,  the  Fifth,  of  the  jEneid. 

In  surveying  this  *  local  habitation '  assigned  to  some  of  the 
most  beautiful  creations  of  ancient  poesy,  the  fancy  of  a  classi- 
cal amateur  is  apt  to  give  substance  and  reality  to  the  crea- 
tions themselves,  and  to  forget  that  they  belong  to  the  list  of 
idealities.    The  face  of  natural  objects  being  supposed  to  re- 


SCENES  OF  THE  iENEID.  87 

main  unworn  and  unchanged  since  the  periods  of  which  the 

muse  has  sung,  serves  to  confirm  the  illusion.     The  position  of 

Columbara  Rock  determines  the  scene  of  the  naval  games  : 

Est  procul  in  pelago  saxum  spumantia  contra 
Littora ;  — 

Of  course,  it  was  the  station  on  which  the  oaken  signal  was 
erected ;  and  as  we  sailed  over  the  waters  which  surround  it,  I 
was  willing  to  believe  that  there  Gyas  and  Cloanthus,  with  their 
ardent  competitors,  cut  the  green  wave  in  the  emulous  race. 
And  as  I  looked  on  the  adjacent  shores,  fancy  was  at  no  loss  to 
determine  the  sites  of  the  other  sports.  Within  yonder  amphi- 
theatre, of  hills  thought  I,  Euryalus  and  Salius,  Dares  and  En- 
tellus,  disputed  the  pedestrian  and  pugilistic  prizes ;  on  the 
sandy  beach  hard  by,  stood  the  mast  of  Sergestus'  shattered 
galley,  and  over  it  fluttered  the  poor  dove,  fated  victim  of  Eu- 
rytion's  skill  in  archery.  On  that  smooth  plain  beyond,  young 
Priam,  and  blooming  Atys,  and  the  Dardan  hero's  son,  mar- 
shalled their  squadrons  of  horse  in  mimic  fight.  The  pictures, 
at  least,  of  those  stirring  scenes  as  sketched  in  my  younger 
days,  rose  upon  my  imagination  in  all  their  freshness ;  and 
every  object  around  seemed  to  speak  of  the  things  suggested, 
not  as  falling  within  the  province  of  fiction,  but  as  constituting  a 
class  of  sober  realities. 

But  Trapani  is  interesting  from  another,  and  a  solemn  remin- 
iscence. Off  Sigia  tower,  already  named,  lie  several  abrupt 
rocks,  called  '  I  scogli  di  mal  consiglio.'  They  are  so  denom- 
inated from  the  circumstance  of  being  the  reported  place  where 
Palmerio  of  Trapani  and  John  of  Proclda,  with  their  fellow  con- 
spirators, debated  and  planned  the  tragic  Sicilian  vespers  in  1282. 
The  appearance  of  these  rocks,  near  which  we  sailed,  and  which 
were  examined  with  the  aid  of  the  ship's  glass,  offered  little  to 
justify  the  tradition.  They  are  low,  craggy  and  exposed.  Still 
it  is  certain  the  Trapanites  were  very  zealous  in  the  affair,  and 
received  Peter  of  Arragon  and  Constance  his  queen  with  lively 
demonstrations  of  rejoicing. 


MEDITERRANEAN. 


While  noting  the  hints  and  impressions  suggested  by  the  pre- 
ceding objects,  we  have  entered  the  bay  of  St  Giacorao.  It 
was  a  considerable  naval  station  with  the  Romans,  and  is  still 
an  eligible  rendezvous  for  a  fleet.  Favignana  is  generally  low, 
but  is  marked  by  an  eminence  of  singular  figure,  which, 
crossing  it  centrally,  has  caused  the  island  to  be  compared  to  a 
colossal  bird  with  spread  pinions.  On  the  highest  point  and 
very  conspicuous,  stands  the  castle  of  St  Catherine,  which  is 
said  to  be  impregnable  unless  reduced  by  famine.  It  possesses 
full  command  of  the  town  and  harbor.  There  is  a  smaller  fort 
situated  on  a  hillock  near  the  port  of  St  Giacomo.  Its  princi- 
pal use  is  to  confine  a  part  of  the  gangs  of  wretches  annually 
condemned  by  the  tribunals  of  Sicily. 

Favignana  is  a  valuable  litde  island,  much  superior  to  its  sister 
jEgades.  It  constitutes  a  marquisate;  the  revenue  of  the  title 
being  derived  from  its  tunny  and  anchovy  fisheries,  its  quarries 
of  stone,  and  the  sale  of  sheep,  goats,  grain  and  fruit.  It  has  a 
respectable  town,  St  Leonardo,  which  comprises  a  population 
estimated  at  twentythree  hundred  souls.  The  isles  of  Maritimo 
and  Levanso,  on  the  other  hand,  are  poor  and  thinly  inhabited. 
Their  chief  value  consists  in  the  stunted  woods  with  which  they 
abound.  Great  numbers  of  fagots  are  made  up  from  them  an- 
nually and  sent  to  Marsala  and  Trapani  for  sale. 

Jan,  29.  —  Off  Pantellaria.  Since  yesterday  we  have 
contrived  to  beat  up,  —  no  thanks  to  the  winds,  —  to  the  neigh- 
borhood of  this  pretty  isle.  It  lies  in  middle  channel  be- 
tween Sicily  and  Africa,  —  Marsala  being  twenty  leagues  distant 
at  the  north,  and  Cape  Bon  in  Tunis  as  many  to  the  south. 
We  have  left  the  jEgades  seventyfive  miles  behind  us.  It 
seemed  that  in  parUng  with  them,  we  were  taking  leave  of  Eu- 
rope. Indeed,  the  winds  were  one  while  apparently  determined 
to  drive  us,  like  the  Trojan  band,  on  the  African  shore  ;  where 
we  were  not  sure  of  finding  a  second  Carthage,  nor  a  gracious 
reception  within  its  walls  under  favor  of  some  beauteous  queen. 
The  scudding  clouds  of  the  morning  veiled  every  object  but  the 


PANTELLARIA.  89 

wild  waves  which  encompassed  us.  Towards  noon  they  were 
partially  dissipated,  and  Pantellaria  was  seen  lifting  its  dark  cone 
above  the  foaming  main.  We  have  been  gradually  gaining 
upon  it,  till  at  length  we  are  making  short  tacks  near  the  mouth 
of  its  litde  harbor.  ^^ 

My  eyes  are  thus  entertained  by  a  new  set  of  objects,  and 
they  are  exceedingly  regaling.  The  island,  though  anciently 
volcanic,  presents  on  the  side  which  we  behold,  a  scene  of  sur- 
passing verdure.  Gardens,  fields,  orchards  and  vineyards,  in- 
tersected by  green  hedges  and  spotted  here  and  there  with 
habitations  partly  embowered,  clothe  the  gende  slopes  of  some 
sweet  hills  whose  feet  are  bathed  by  the  briny  billows.  To- 
wards the  centre  of  the  island  a  bolder  elevation  is  perceived, 
crowned  with  a  double  volcanic  apex,  whose  fires,  long  extin- 
guished, once  darted  showers  of  cinders  which  have  since 
spread  fertility  and  beauty  around  its  ample  base. 

The  town,  too,  of  Pantellaria  looks  well  enough  from  the 
water.  Perhaps  on  a  nearer  inspection,  it  might  strike  less 
favorably,  but  I  am  only  describing  things  as  they  appear.  The 
houses  are  mostly  flat-roofed,  and  covered  with  tiles  of  a  light 
yellow.  Numbers  of  them  are  surmounted  with  little  domes, 
coloured  green,  which,  united  to  some  other  peculiarides,  give 
them  a  fanciful  but  not  unbecoming  appearance.  These,  how- 
ever, are  more  generally  appendages  to  the  villas  which  over- 
look the  town.  There  is  a  due  proportion  of  churches,  and  the 
walls  of  the  Capuchin  establishment  are  very  conspicuous.  But 
the  most  distinguished  object  is  the  castle  with  its  square  keep, 
swelling  its  disproportionate  bulk  above  the  centre  of  the  town. 
Besides  this,  the  harbor  is  guarded  by  small  batteries  erected  on 
the  two  points  of  St  Leonard  and  Santa  Croce. 

Pantellaria  has  had  need  of  stronger  defences.  Its  proximity 
to  the  Barbary  shore  has  exposed  it  to  many  predatory  attacks 
from  piratical  galleys.  The  most  disastrous  descent  was  that  of 
the  celebrated  Corsair  Dragut,  the  successor  of  Barbarossa  on 
the  throne  of  Algiers.  He  made  good  his  landing,  sacked  the 
12 


-r 


90  MEDITERRANEAN. 

castle,  and  carried  no  less  than  a  thousand  of  the  inhabitants  into 
slavery. 

We  have  stood  in  close  enough  to  obtain  a  view  of  the  inhab- 
itants. They  are  an  indolent  people,  at  least  if  we  may  judge 
from  the  many  saunterers  abroad.  Their  dress  and  swarthy 
features,  of  a  peculiar  cast,  attracted  attention.  As  we  bore  up 
towards  the  mole,  a  crowd  pressed  thither,  among  which  we 
distinguished  a  few  women,  and  two  or  three  figures  of  men 
superior  to  the  general  mass,  whose  short  blue  cloaks,  worn^ «  Za 
Skilien^  gave  them  the  air  of  cavaliers.  On  the  esplanade  of 
Santa  Croce  a  knot  of  soldiers  was  gathered.  I  know  not  what 
they  took  us  to  be,  as  our  colours  were  not  flying,  and  through 
our  opened  ports  the  wide  mouths  of  two  or  three  brass  cannon, 
if  observed,  may  have  looked  rather  suspicious.  But  certes,  we 
disclaimed  all  fellowship  with  their  Barbary  neighbors,  and  ap- 
proached them  with  most  pacific  dispositions.  They  scrutinized 
us,  nevertheless,  quite  as  narrowly  as  on  the  other  hand  we  re- 
connoitred them  ;  and  it  was  not  till  we  wore  ship  and  put  about 
on  another  tack,  that  the  peering  groups  were  seen  slowly  to 
disperse.  The  captain  traces  in  the  look  of  Pantellaria  a  re- 
semblance to  Montserrat  in  the  West  Indies,  —  an  island  which 
he  visited  in  earlier  life,  and  which  he  describes  as  characterized 
by  romantic  beauty.  I  must  not  omit  to  note  a  little  circum- 
stance which  just  lent  a  new  feature  of  interest  to  the  scene. 
As  we  stood  gazing  at  the  central  mountain,  around  the  summit 
of  which  a  volume  of  vapor  was  rolled,  the  mist  gradually  undu- 
lating, assumed  the  form  and  appearance  of  curling  smoke. 
This,  wreathing  upward  from  the  rim  of  the  old  crater,  looked 
like  an  eruption  from  its  very  bosom ;  and  had  the  volcano 
been  existing,  its  sooty  steams  could  have  looked  no  differently. 
The  resemblance  struck  equally  the  captain  and  myself,  and  ex- 
torted a  simultaneous  expression  of  gratification  and  surprise. 

The  town  of  Pantellaria  numbers  a  population  of  four  thou- 
sand. About  two  thousand  more  inhabitants  are  dispersed 
elsewhere  over  the  island.     The  circumference  of  the  coast 


PANTELLARIA.  91 

is  thlrtyfour  miles.  The  principal  products  of  the  isle  are  wine, 
fruits  and  cotton.  It  is  said  that  of  grain  there  is  not  more  pro- 
duced annually  than  is  sufficient  for  consumption  during  three 
months.  For  the  remaining  supplies  of  this  necessary  of  life, 
the  inhahitants  depend  on  Sicily.  The  raisins  are  pronounced 
some  of  the  finest  and  cheapest  in  the  Mediterranean.  Above 
the  enameled  fields  and  gardens  which,  I  have  said,  clothe  the 
gentle  eminences  back  of  the  town,  are  the  olive  grounds. 
The  plantations  are  numerous  and  are  arrayed  in  lively  green. 
Higher  than  these  we  discern  a  woody  belt,  which  on  turning  to 
my  authorities  I  find  to  be  composed  chiefly  of  chesnuts,  bastard 
oaks  and  caper  trees.  Then  the  mountain  steep  above,  with 
its  old  sombre  peak,  remaining  unchanged  through  the  revolu- 
tion of  ages,  and  the  island  itself  sitting  unmoved  amid  the  wild 
warring  waves  which  now  embosom  it,  —  these  altogether  offer  a 
scene  most  striking  in  its  combinations  of  loveliness  and  grandeur. 

The  island  anciently  had  a  different  look,  1  mean  in  the 
matter  of  loveliness.  Seneca  mentions  it  as  a  rough  and  barren 
spot  in  his  day.  It  is  probable  that  the  volcano  had  not  then 
been  long  extinguished,  and  its  fertile  soil  and  natural  resources 
have  since  been  mostly  created,  or  perhaps  developed.  Pan- 
tellaria  was  the  Cossyra  of  antiquity.  Its  history  records  varied 
fortunes.  Like  many  nobler  possessions  it  has  passed  succes- 
sively under  the  sceptre  of  the  masters  of  the  world,  sharing  the 
immediate  fate  of  Sicily  almost  uniformly.  At  present,  it  is  a 
dependence  on  that  crown,  and  belongs  with  the  title  of  princi- 
pality to  the  house  of  Requisino.  It  formed  for  a  long  time,  a 
portion  of  the  dowry  of  the  queens  of  Sicily.  It  is  only  arbi- 
trarily denominated  a  part  of  Europe,  as  it  lies  quite  as  near  to 
the  African  continent,  and  if  the  lords  of  the  old,  or  rather  the 
civilized  world,  dwelt  on  the  other  shoj-e,  they  would  consider  it 
doubtless  <ts  an  appendage  of  that  quarter  of  the  globe. 

Jan.  30.  1  P.  M.  I  have  just  descended  from  deck  after 
enjoying  one  of  the  sweetest  spectacles  which  ever  blessed  my 
eyes.  It  was  another  gaze  of  the  verdant  and  picturesque 
beauties  of  Pantellaria,  — ^  a  long,  and  alas,  a  parting  gaze.     But 


92  MEDITERRANEAN. 

previously  to  sketching  these,  as  they  appeared  under  other  and 
more  advantageous  circumstances  than  on  the  antecedent  day, 
I  must  go  back  and  note  a  few  preliminary  incidents. 

The  gale  last  night  was  very  surly.  The  friendly  island 
did  all  it  could  to  shelter  us,  but  the  sea  and  wind  tossed  us 
most  ungraciously.  The  ship's  timbers  creaked  with  many 
a  rude  shock,  and  the  sweeping  blasts  whistled  through  our 
blocks  and  shrouds.  What  with  tacking  and  drifting,  —  standing 
off  and  on,  nautically  speaking, —  we  fell  considerably  to  the 
leeward;  and  when  morning  broke,  struggling  to  look  forth 
from  under  its  cloudy  mantle,  Pantellaria  was  effectually  hid 
from  us  as  though  it  had  foundered,  and  not  we,  beneath  the 
angry  floods. 

About  sunrise,  the  storm  subsided.  '  The  heart  of  the  gale 
was  broke,'  as  a  tar,  soused  with  the  plashing  spray,  was  heard 
to  express  himself.  The  sea,  very  differently  from  an  Atlantic 
roll,  soon  abated,  and  prepared  to  compose  itself  to  rest.  At 
eight,  we  made  sail  and  once  more  hove  up  for  the  *  bonnie'  isle, 
which  lay  directly  in  our  proper  track.  The  baffling  state  of 
the  winds,  which  having  spent  themselves  in  one  point,  seemed 
irresolute  from  what  quarter  next  they  should  agree  to  breeze, 
kept  us  back  for  a  while  in  our  course.  Sailing  gradually  to 
the  east,  at  length  Pantellaria  we  again  descried,  looking  like  a 
green  sea-gem  in  a  setting  of  blue.  The  sun  shortly  after  burst 
forth  with  splendor,  as  if  to  beam  a  complacent  smile  on  that 
sweet  isle. 

And  how  fair  it  looked  when  at  last  we  reached  it,  and  glided 
once  more  along  its  emerald  shores !  The  verdure  under  a 
sunny  sky  assumed  a  deeper  and  livelier  tint,  and  vegetation 
wore  a  richness  far  surpassing  its  appearance  on  the  day  pre- 
ceding. Orchards,  in  the  full  pride  of  bloom,  displayed  their 
thousand  varied  hues.  In  every  garden,  the  almond  was  seen 
profusely  decked  with  its  damask  flowers.  The  sweetest 
perfumes  were  wafted  from  the  expanded  blossoms  of  the 
citron  and  orange  ;  and  all  nature  luxuriated  under  the  balmy 
influences  of  a  soft  and  roseate  morn.     The  waves  now  reduced 


PANTELLARIA.  93 

to  gentle  undulations,  as  they  stole  to  the  shore  —  neaved  by  a 
zephyr  which  rather  sighed  than  breathed — broke  upon  its 
margin  in  snowy  circlets,  like  chains  of 'orient  pearl.' 

1  am  not  expatiating  on  mere  fancied  beauties.  The  descrip- 
tion which  I  attem.pt  is  poor  compared  with  the  genuine  impres- 
sions which  the  scene  beheld,  spontaneously  called  up.  We 
were  often  scarce  a  bow-shot  from  the  shore,  for  the  deep  waters 
around  it  permitted  so  nigh  an  approach  in  perfect  safety. 
No  one  position  on  land  perhaps  could  have  been  so  favorable 
for  the  view,  as  none  would  probably  have  combined  the  variety 
of  features  which  we  contemplated  in  our  near  and  leisurely 
passage  by  the  island. 

The  town  being  built  at  the  northwest  extremity  of  Pantellaria 
was  approached  first.  Sailing  slowly  past  it,  and  its  pretty  Al- 
meda  which  I  had  previously  overlooked,  we  observed  the 
population  as  on  the  former  occasion,  —  some  busy,  but  others 
and  the  most  who  were  abroad,  strolling  with  a  careless  air,  or 
seated  in  social  intercourse  under  the  shade  of  flowering  trees. 
In  the  vineyards  and  olive  groves,  some  peasantry  were  em- 
ployed ;  and  along  the  highways  leading  from  the  gates  of  the 
town  towards  Cala  Tramontana  and  St  Gaetano,  muleteers  and 
pedestrians  of  either  sex,  were  occasionally  passing  to  and  fro, 
giving  liveliness  to  the  general  scene.  As  we  rounded  the 
northern  point  of  the  harbor  and  left  the  town,  the  landscape 
varied,  but  only  to  exhibit  fresh  charms.  The  monastery  of  St 
Theodore  looked  down  upon  us  from  its  green  and  woody  ele- 
vation. Successive  cots,  romantically  situated,  came  momentarily 
into  view.  Several  little  vales  of  exquisite  loveliness  put  in  their 
claims  to  notice.  Occasionally  we  could  see  a  limpid  brook, 
stealing  through  the  fresh  grass  to  mingle  with  the  waters  which 
bathed  these  fairy  shores.  The  country,  in  short,  was  spread 
out  as  a  vast  garden,  divided  into  numberless  enclosures,  the 
circumscribed  limits  of  which  denoted  the  value  and  fertility 
of  the  smallest  spots.  Altogether  it  was  a  scene  of  enchant- 
ment.    The  isle  of  Cythera  could  not  look  fairer. 


94  MEDITERRANEAN. 

But  my  description  hitherto  must  be  considered  as  confined 
to  the  landscape  which  first  met  my  eye.  It  embraced  a  con- 
siderable part  of  the  island,  but  I  would  not  have  it  supposed  to 
be  applicable  to  all  of  Pantellaria.  On  the  contrary,  the  east 
and  south  shores  consist  chiefly  of  steep  and  inaccessible  cliffs, 
with  basaltic  caves  at  their  base ;  and  the  north,  down  which 
we  sailed,  is  lined  in  part  with  a  sterile  and  rocky  front.  The 
coast  in  several  places  1  found  seamed  with  old  lava ;  and  in 
one  spot  it  rises  into  a  broad  high  bluff,  composed  of  black 
walls  of  that  material.  The  town  would  naturally  be  built  on 
the  most  eligible  site  ;  of  course  it  would  not  be  on  that  side 
by  which  the  ancient  streams  of  lava  usually  flowed.  The 
progress  of  further  settlement  and  cultivation  would  be  directed 
by  the  fertility  and  fitness  of  soil  and  place.  Thus  it  is  that 
the  section  of  the  island  whose  features  of  loveliness  I  have  de- 
scribed, was  chosen  for  habitancy  and  has  been  decked  by  the 
arts  of  husbandry  ;  and  enough  of  it  there  appears,  to  yield  a 
luxurious  tribute  to  meet  the  wants  and  tastes  of  all  its  present 
population. 

The  other  shores,  nevertheless,  if  insusceptible  of  culture,  are 
striking  from  their  boldness.  On  the  north  the  twin-bays  of  Gala 
Tramontana,  and  Gala  Levante,  are  extremely  picturesque. 
They  are  not  the  only  objects  in  that  neighborhood  deserving 
notice. 

But  I  must  bid  adieu  to  this  enticing  spot.  Pantellaria  we 
are  now  leaving  behind  us.  One  look  more  at  the  beauteous 
isle,  and  it  will  be  shut  out  forever  from  my  sight.  But  its 
image  will  not  fade.  It  will  live  in  my  memory  ever  fresh  as  its 
own  perennial  verdure. 

11  P.  M.  All 's  bright.  A  favorable  breeze  fills  our  sails, 
and  the  ship  speeds  merrily  along.  I  have  been  enjoying 
a  walk  upon  the  deck,  yielding  to  the  exhilaration  of  feeling 
which  the  anticipation  of  new  objects  of  interest,  so  soon  to  be 
witnessed,  naturally  inspires.  By  dawn  we  shall  make  the 
Maltese  isles,  and  salute  the  ancient  heritage  of  the  knights  of 
St  John. 


GOZA.  95 

Jan.  Si.  —  Expectation  was  not  disappointed.  At  peep  of 
dawn  I  was  roused  by  tlie  ever  welcome  sounds  of  the  over- 
hauling of  the  chain-cable,  the  cry  of  heave  ho,  and  the  heavy 
trampling  of  mariners  on  deck,  engaged  in  preparations  which 
were  indicative  of  a  speedy  termination  of  the  voyage.  I  was 
not  long  in  escaping  from  my  berth,  and  putting  myself  in  a  con- 
dition to  mount  the  companion  way  in  order  to  note  what  was 
observable.  The  cool  breeze  of  morning  was  refreshing  to 
inhale.  The  bark  clipped  the  green  waves  like  a  swallow  upon 
the  wing.  The  last  stars  of  night  had  not  ceased  their  faint 
twinkling :  but  the  blush  of  morning  was  brightening  and  red- 
dening in  the  east. 

On  our  right  at  the  distance  of  a  few  furlongs,  a  rough  shore 
was  discerned.  It  was  the  island  of  Goza,  the  westernmost 
point  of  which  we  had  just  touched.  It  lay  low  and  looked 
bare.  As  light  advanced,  a  line  of  wall  was  remarked,  para- 
peting the  coast.  Towers  here  and  there  were  perceived,  — 
soon,  a  few  scattered  tenements,  and  then  a  small  village^  very 
compact.  From  the  casements  of  a  few  of  the  houses,  the 
lights  of  some  early  stirrers  were  seen  glimmering  through  the 
gray  of  the  morning. 

At  length  the  landscape  was  all  uncovered  ;  and  the  impres- 
sion it  produced,  I  must  say,  was  disappointing.  Scarce  a  tree 
could  be  observed,  and  the  general  livery  of  the  earth  was 
brown.  Buildings  standing  singly,  or  grouped  in  hamlets,  were 
dispersed  rather  plentifully  ;  but  they  resembled  military  posts, 
as  though  intended  either  as  watch  towers  or  barracks.  They 
were  built  with  low,  solid  walls,  of  a  dingy  species  of  stone. 

In  an  hour  or  two  more,  we  opened  a  little  strait.  It  was 
that  of  Cumino,  in  the  midst  of  which  is  the  isle  of  the  same 
name.  This  strait,  about  a  league  broad,  separates  Goza  from 
Malta.  Along  the  latter  coast  our  track  then  lay.  Near  the 
upper  extremity  of  this  and  looking  toward  Cumino,  the  bleak 
hill  Bengemma  was  seen, —  a  spur  of  which  encloses  a  rocky  dell, 
said  to  open  into  several  caves  forming  the  grotto  of  Calypso. 
For  it  must  be  noted,  that  Malta  or  the  old  Melita,  was   the 


9G  MEDITERRANEAN. 

reputed  domain  of  that  famed  nymph  in  times  of  which  bards 
have  sung.  As  the  muse  has  embalmed  her  beautiful  name, 
and  tradition  has  given  her  this  island  for  her  home,  and  yonder 
grotto  for  her  haunt,  it  was  curious  to  reflect  on  that  fertility  of 
poetic  invention  which  could  transform  a  rock  into  a  Cyprian 
elysium,  and  deck  it  with  fountains  and  bowers,  and  flowers  and 
verdure.  ^^ 

Cruising  to  the  east,  it  was  not  long  before  we  crossed  the 
mouth  of  an  inlet  which  indented  a  deep  shore  of  graceful  cur- 
vature. Its  bosom  was  dotted  with  a  few  black  rocks,  round 
which  the  waters  now  peacefully  slept.  This  was  the  bay  of 
San  Paolo,  within  which  the  apostle  Paul  is  said  to  have  been 
wrecked,  when  the  ship  which  bore  him  encountered  the  *  two 
seas,'  —  or  cross  currents,  —  spoken  of  in  Acts,  and  was  broken 
by  '  the  violence  of  the  waves.'  As  I  looked  upon  it,  the  sun  was 
rising  in  cloudless  effulgence  ;  and  I  bethought  me  of  that  Light  to 
gladden  the  gentiles  which  beamed  upon  the  benighted  isle,  when 
the  apostle,  rescued  from  a  watery  grave,  was  thrown  upon  it  ta 
fulfil  the  commission  of  Him  who  '  from  seeming  evil  yet  educeth 
good.' 

Malta  generally  had  the  look  of  greater  comparative  populous- 
ness  than  its  smaller  sister  isles.  Its  appearance  too,  was  less 
displeasing.  The  style  of  building,  like  that  of  Goza,  was  totally 
different  from  anything  I  have  elsewhere  remarked.  The 
houses,  of  strange  and  various  form,  were  all  flat-roofed,  and 
seemed  half  buried  in  the  earth.  Their  few,  narrow  windows 
resembled  castellated  loopholes.  The  villages  looked  like  so 
many  citadels  ;  convents  like  garrisons,  and  cottages  like  ward- 
ers' towers.  In  all  the  erections,  great  and  small,  there  was  a 
certain  oriental  cast  of  architecture.  The  spires  of  churches 
and  convents  were  not  unlike  minarets.  Many  structures  had 
a  decaying,  half-ruinous  look ;  and  what  with  the  general 
surface  of  the  landscape,  naked  of  wood  and  devoid  of  the 
visible  beauties  of  cultivation,  the  tout  ensemble  brought  to  my 
mind  the  portraitures  of  scenes  on  the  wastes  of  Palestine  or 
Persia. 


COAST  OF  MALTA.  97 

The  shore  was  generally  steep  but  not  elevated.  Indeed  no 
part  of  Malta  appeared  more  than  a  few  hundred  yards  higher 
than  the  surface  of  the  sea.  The  coast  like  Goza,  as  far  as  the 
eye  extended,  was  lined  by  a  low  rampart,  strengthened  with 
towers  irregularly  distributed,  and  pierced  with  embrasures  for 
cannon.  In  places  naturally  more  accessible  small  redoubts  were 
erected  for  additional  defence  ;  and  in  the  face  of  the  solid  rock 
I  observed  some  artificial  perforations  of  very  large  calibre  in- 
tended for  bombs. 

The  soil,  partitioned  in  narrow  strips  and  fenced  with  thick 
walls,  was  mostly  hidden  from  view.  Of  course  litde  of  vege- 
tation could  be  seen,  and  the  sides  of  the  gende  eminences  rising 
back  from  the  coast  looked  in  general  like  an  irregular  slope  of 
the  natural  rock.  This  circumstance,  though  a  necessary  pre- 
caution it  would  seem  against  the  washing  of  earths  in  the  rainy 
seasons,  by  no  means  contributes  to  diminish  the  air  of  impover- 
ishment and  even  sterility,  which  the  island  offers  at  first  view.  ^^ 

The  peasantry  were  not  seen.  If  they  were  abroad  and  em- 
ployed, the  walls  of  the  enclosures  and  highways  would  proba- 
bly screen  them.  A  few  fishermen  took  their  stations  early  on 
the  points  of  rocks,  which  edged  the  shore.  The  descent 
was  a  task  of  difficulty  and  seeming  peril.  The  most  of 
them  had  nothing  on  but  loose  cotton  drawers  and  woollen 
caps.  One  man  was  coolly  employed  watching  his  lines  — 
in  perfect  nudity.  Some  fishing  boats  also  put  off  and  glided 
to  their  respective  stations  to  spread  their  nets.  They  were 
pushed  with  oars,  not  rowed,  the  men  standing  up  the  while. 
Two  or  three  wherries  of  another  description  approached  and 
hailed  the  Packet,  for  the  purpose  of  taking  letters  or  other  com- 
missions^for  delivery  on  shore,  as  the  vessel  on  its  arrival  would 
go  into  quarantine.  Though  we  had  nothing  to  entrust  to  them, 
they  still  kept  about  the  ship  in  the  hope  of  catching  something 
in  the  shape  of  employment.  They  were  joined  by  others, 
and  at  length  were  all  ordered  ojEF.  Yet  they  fell  only  into  the 
vessel's  wake,  and  plied  their  light  oars  so  busily  as  to  keep  us 
company  ;  and  with  this  little  flotilla  we  prosecuted  our  course. 
13 


98  Ml^DlTEllllANEAN. 

The  boats  were  of  singular  make,  with  high  curling  beaks 
fancifully  painted,  and  having  on  their  stems  or  sterns,  besides 
the  emblem  of  the  cross,  the  initials  inscribed  of  the  Holy  Virgin 
or  Jesus  Salvator.  In  working  these  wherries,  the  oars,  like 
those  of  the  fishing  boats,  were  all  propelled  forward.  Two  of 
them  were  managed  by  mere  boys. 

Further  on,  several  feluccas  and  another  strange  class  of  ves- 
sels, called  Sparonaras,  were  seen  issuing  from  the  port,  bound 
with  a  fair  breeze  for  Sicily.  The  latter  are  a  kind  of  shallop 
without  deck,  about  thirty  feet  long,  and  are  constructed  for  row- 
ing in  calm  weather.  With  a  propitious  wind,  as  on  this  morn- 
ing, they  hoist  a  huge  square  sail  athwart  the  midships,  and  con- 
trive, despite  of  the  clumsy  apparatus,  to  move  with  surprising 
despatch. 

Having  proceeded  thus  far,  it  is  time  to  pause  and  adjust  our 
reckoning,  that  the  reader  may  better  understand  the  bearings 
and  relations  of  places  which  remain  to  be  mentioned. 

What  is  called  the  harbor  of  Malta  is  in  fact  a  double  port. 
The  narrow  rocky  peninsula  on  which  the  city  of  La  Valetta  is 
built,  runs  through  the  midst  of  it  dividing  it  into  two  capacious 
basins.  On  the  right,  as  the  town  is  approached,  is  the  port 
which  is  appropriated  to  commercial  vessels  in  quarantine  and 
some  small  craft  j  that  to  the  left  is  the  more  general  receiver 
for  ships,  and  a  portion  of  it  is  specially  reserved  for  the  ancho- 
rage of  men  of  war.  To  that  port  w^e  are  destined.  —  It  is  the 
farther  one  of  the  two,  when  entered  from  the  west.  The 
mouth  to  such  important  harbors  w^ould  be  expected  to  be 
strongly  guarded ;  and  their  bulwarks  at  first  view  could  no^^ 
easily  be  mistaken. 

At  ten,  accordingly,  the  fortress  of  Tigne  which  defends  the 
lesser  port  made  its  appearance,  distant  about  a  league.  As  we 
gained  on  this,  the  towers  of  La  Valetta  beyond  began  to  lift 
themselves  into  view,  and  the  outer  point  whereon  is  the  bastion 
of  St  John,  lay  fully  exposed.  The  fort  being  passed,  the  specta- 
cle so  anxiously  desired,  burst  on  the  gaze.  La  Valetta,  with  its 
proud   old   walls,  its   lofty  ramparts,  its   towers  and  palaces 


GRAND  HARBOR.  99 

was  all  displayed.  Rounding  the  point  almost  under  the  shadow 
of  the  castle  of  St  Ehiio,  and  sailing  between  that  citadel  and 
Port  Ricasoli  on  the  opposite  point,  we  entered  the  Grand  Har- 
''or.  Viitoriosa  surmounted  by  the  castle  of  St  Angelo,  and 
JHirmola  with  its  mural  bulwarks  scarcely  less  formidable, 
were  seen  crowding  tw^o  parallel  promontories  which  fronted  the 
city  and  protruded  into  the  bay.  The  basins  between  them 
were  filled  with  shipping.  The  quays  of  La  Valetta  lined  with 
a  thousand  boats  and  feluccas,  exhibited  an  animating  spectacle 
of  busde  and  activity.  The  city  itself,  reposing  on  its  firm  foun- 
dations and  begirt  with  walls  of  amazing  strength,  looked  tran- 
quilly down  upon  the  moving  scene.  A  few  flags,  displaying 
no  longer  the  cross  of  Malta  but  the  ensign  of  St  George, 
flaunted  gaily  from  the  towers  and  shipping  around. 

But  there  was  one  flag,  marked  by  no  cross,  which  early 
caught  and  riveted  my  eye.  Could  I  mistake  it  ?  It  wd.s  my 
country's  banner,  floating  majestically  over  one  of  its  noblest 
ships.  In  the  centre  of  the  harbor,  and  certainly  its  most  con- 
spicuous object,  the  North  Carolina  was  anchored  ; 

' ipsamque  inoenti  mole  Chimsvam. 

It  was  not  a  chimera  in  one  sense,  however ;  it  was  a  sober 
reality.  She  had  put  in,  as  I  have  since  learned,  but  a  few  days 
ago ;  and  my  surprise  in  beholding  her  was  only  exceeded  by 
the  pleasure.  A  British  flag-ship  — the  Revenge,  seventyfour, 
—  lay  not  far  distant ;  but  though  bearing  the  same  nominal 
rate,  her  appearance  both  in  pomp  and  power  was  strikingly  in- 
ferior. We  dropt  to  the  leeward,  at  a  respectful  distance  from 
these  lordly  ships,  and  furled  our  sails  and  cast  our  anchor. 

There  is  scarcely  a  place,  that  does  not  disappoint  the  eye  in 
some  respects  on  a  first  inspection.  It  may  disappoint  in  two 
ways,  either  agreeably  or  unpleasantly ;  but  still  be  a  different 
thing  from  what  was  pictured.  And  thus  it  is  with  Malta.  Its 
aspect  is  foreign  from  ray  previous  notions;  yet  I  am  not  aware 
that  it  loses  in  impressiveness.  It  has  a  venerable  look  at  least, 
which  suits  well  with  its  historic  associations. 


100  MEDITERRANEAN. 

No  two  fortresses  are  more  dissimilar  than  Malta  and  Gibral- 
tar. They  are  perhaps  equally  impregnable.  But  in  the  case 
of  Gibraltar,  if  nature  has  not  done  all,  she  has  done  her  utmost ; 
here,  with  little  assistance  from  that  efficient  handmaid,  art  has 
exhausted  its  resources  for  defence. 

From  my  station  in  the  harbor,  a  bird's-eye  view  compre- 
hends a  mighty  amphitheatre  of  fortifications.  The  very  names 
of  these  as  indicated  on  a  plan  before  me,  would  be  tedious  to 
enumerate.  It  would  also  require  a  greater  familiarity  with  the 
terms  of  military  science  than  one  unversed  in  the  school 
of  Vauban  can  be  supposed  to  possess,  in  order  to  describe  the 
works  themselves.  And  I  doubt  if  the  majority  of  my  readers 
would  be  greatly  edified  with  a  detail  of  batteries  and  bastions, 
ramparts  and  ravelins,  half-moons  and  horn-works,  curtains,  cav- 
aliers and  conterscarps.  Leaving  these  matters  to  professional 
pens,  my  object  will  be  to  glance  merely  at  some  prominent 
features  and  topics  more  intelligible. 

Towards  either  extremity  of  La  Valetta  there  are  lofty  galle- 
ries built  on  extensive  lines  of  open  arches,  evidently  for  the  pur- 
pose of  promenades.  They  have  an  airy  and  imposing  look. 
In  the  centre  of  the  town  rise  the  two  towers  of  the  cathedral 
of  St  John.  Near  the  casde  of  St  Elmo  and  a  little  to  the 
north,  a  low  dome  and  some  batdements  denote  the  old  palace 
of  the  Grand  Masters  of  Malta.  On  the  Marino,  nearly  fronting 
us,  is  a  long  range  of  buildings  with  low  double  stories,  for- 
merly used  as  magazines  for  the  galleys  of  the  Maltese  knights. 
At  one  end  of  this,  there  is  a  large  fountain  which  seems  to  be 
in  great  demand  from  the  mixed  multitude  constantly  about  it. 

Perhaps  the  greatest  objects  of  interest  in  view  are  the 
castles  of  St  Angelo  and  Elmo,  situated,  as  already  intimated, 
on  opposite  sides  of  the  harbor.  The  former  was  the  only  for- 
tress on  the  whole  island  when  the  knights  took  possession  of  it. 
The  grand-master,  L'Isle  Adam,  greatly  strengthened  it ;  and 
against  this  the  mightiest  efforts  of  the  Turks  were  unsuccess- 
fully made  in  the  famous  siege  of  1565.  II  Borgo,  (literally,  the 
Borough,)  adjacent  to  St  Angelo,  and  supported  by  additional 


PORT  ENVIRONS.  IQl 

defences  of  its  own,  shared  also  by  its  undaunted  resistance  in 
the  meed  of  triumpli  on  that  glorious  occasion.  The  little 
peninsula  deservedly  gained  thereby  the  name  of  Citta  Vitto- 
riosa,  or  the  Victorious  City. 

St  Elmo  is  not  less  memorable.  It  fell  indeed  after  most 
desperate  assaults  into  the  hands  of  the  infidels,  but  not  till  the 
last  knight  of  a  little  band  of  three  hundred,  together  with 
thirteen  hundred  soldiers  appointed  to  defend  it,  sunk  in  the 
dreadful  strife.  Mustapha,  when  he  entered  the  fort,  literally 
walked  over  their  dead  bodies.  Its  capture  cost  him  the  lives 
of  eight  thousand  of  his  troops.  Struck  with  the  insignificance 
of  the  post,  the  bashaw  is  said  to  have  exclaimed,  —  looking 
at  that  moment  to  St  Angelo  opposite,  — '  What  resistance  may 
we  not  expect  from  the  parent,  when  the  child,  small  as  it  is, 
has  caused  the  sacrifice  of  so  many  of  our  bravest  soldiers  !' 

In  the  present  coup  d^ceil  we  must  not  overlook  La  Sangle, 
seated  on  a  part  of  the  promontory  abreast  of  Vittoriosa.  This 
bears  the  proud  title  of  Invincible,  —  Citta  Invitta,  —  on  account 
of  the  deeds  of  valor  performed  by  the  defenders  of  its  fortress 
in  the  same  tremendous  invasion,  —  deeds  second  only  to  those 
of  the  garrisons  of  Saints  Elmo  and  Angelo. 

But  I  must  turn  to  matters  of  a  more  personal  character. 
The  Packet  being  in  quarantine,  there  was  no  landing 
saving  at  the  Barrier,  (called  also,  the  Parlatorio,)  an  office 
erected  on  a  point  of  land  near  the  head  of  the  port.  Those 
who  wish  to  transact  business  viva  voce,  or  enjoy  interviews 
with  Maltese  residents  or  others,  must  meet  them  there.  To 
one  inexperienced  in  affairs  of  this  sort,  the  arrangement,  though 
a  partial  convenience,  is  yet  sufficiently  awkward.  Having 
letters  to  the  American  consul  and  some  others  which  I 
wished  to  transmit  early,  I  accepted  an  invitation  from  the  com- 
mander of  the  ship  to  take  boat  with  him  and  proceed  to  the 
Barrier. 

The  office  is  situated  near  the  water.  A  short  flight  of  stairs 
leads  up  to  it.  The  building  is  accommodated  with  wings ;  but 
the  front  of  the  body  is  open  having  only  a  bar  railing.     The 


102  MEDITERRANEAN. 

latter  is  marked  off  into  several  divisions,  which  is  a  salutary  pre- 
caution to  prevent  contact  between  those  of  different  terms  oi 
alloled  quarantine.  For  if  you  so  much  as  touch  another,  (nay 
receive  from  him  a  card  of  address,)  whose  quarantine  is  longer 
than  your  own,  the  law  is  inexorable  ;  —  you  must  undergo  the 
same  length  of  sequestration  to  which  he  was  doomed,  and  what 
is  worse,  your  time  will  be  counted  from  the  very  moment  of 
contact.  It  was  amusing  to  observe  the  suspicion  with  which 
the  subjects  of  quarantine  eyed  one  another,  and  their  shyness 
as  shown  in  shunning  any  possible  contiguity. — It  is  not  exactly 
so  with  all ;  for  your  luckless  neighbors  from  Egypt  or  the 
Archipelago^  doomed  to  ride  a  rigorous  quarantine  of  some  thirty 
or  forty  days,  walk  about  with  unconcern,  conscious  that  they 
can  meet  with  none  in  a  worse  situation  than  themselves,  or  by 
whose  contact  they  can  be  injured.  No  healing  virtue  can  flow 
forth  from  others  t©  mend  their  condition,  l)ut  contagion,  it  is 
decreed,  may  emanate  from  such  lazars. 

A  space  two  yards  wide,  fenced  off  by  another  railing  parallel 
to  the  first,  occupies  the  entire  centre  of  the  Palatorio.  Your 
friends  stand  behind  the  second  line  of  defence,  and  attendants 
walk  in  the  space  reserved  with  a  pair  of  formidable  tongs  to 
receive  the  letters  or  papers  which  may  be  offered.  They  first 
take  them  to  a  fumigating  grate,  before  delivering  them  to  the 
persons  designated.  I  v/as  so  fortunate  as  to  find  the  consul  at 
the  ofiice.  My  letters  were  transmitted  a  la  mode,  though  I  con- 
fess it  was  something  mortifyingto  see  them,  when  on  reaching  his 
hands,  brown  as  the  fumes  of  sulphur  could  make  them.  Com- 
modore Rodgers  was  also  at  the  Barrier,  and  I  was  happy  in  the 
opportunity  of  paying  him  m_y  respects  and  furnishing  him  with 
the  latest  files  of  American  papers.  We  exchanged  communi- 
cations of  news  ;  —  the  commodore,  consul  and  myself  stand- 
ing, of  course,  at  respectable  arms  length.  I  was  much  pleased 
with  the  urbanity  of  Signor  Eynaud.  He  promised  to  do  what  he 
could  to  soften  the  rigors  of  my  bondage  ;  and  from  the  com- 
modore I  received  the  offer  of  every  civility  in  his  power.  The 
latter  was  dressed   in  full   uniform,  and   looked  finely.     His 


FLAG-SHIP.  ]  03 

beautiful  barge  put  off  from  the  stairs  at  the  moment  we  left. 
It  was  manned  with  a  noble  set  of  fellows  in  neatest  apparel. 
Its  silken  flag  fluttered  sportively  to  the  breeze,  and  it  darted, 
as  wiih   feathered  speed,   to  the  gallant  ship  which  waited  to 

ereet  the  return  of  its  commander. 

o 

The  port  this  evening  is  fancifully  illuminated  by  the  thou- 
sand lights  from  the  shore  which  encircle  it  with  a  glittering 
zone.  The  stars,  as  though  pausing  in  their  courses,  shed 
down  a  mild  and  beauteous  lustre  upon  the  scene.  Nor  has 
the  eye  only  been  regaled.  Music  we  have  had  of  martial  note. 
When  the  Revenge  at  sunset  struck  her  flags,  the  national  British 
air  was  played.  The  colours  of  the  North  Carolina  were  next 
hauled  down,  and  the  marine  band  on  board  immediately  com- 
menced some  noble  marches  in  honor  of  the  ceremony.  From 
the  forts  around,  the  bugle,  fife,  and  drum  have  since  been 
occasionally  heard,  and  their  tones  have  come  pleasantly  mel- 
lowed over  the  surface  of  the  placid  waters. 

February  1.  Everything  around  is  obviously  militant.  The 
arts  of  peace  are  here  but  subservient  to  those  of  arms.  One 
of  the  earliest  sounds  which  this  morning  aroused  me,  was  the 
din  of  the  neighboring  garrisons.  Troops  have  been  seen  exer- 
cising on  the  parade  of  St  Elmo  and  a  broad  esplanade  to  the 
east  of  La  Valette. 

But  the  line-of-batde  ships  which  attracted  attention  yester- 
day, were  among  the  early  objects  of  fresh  interest  this  morning. 
There  are  no  others  of  their  rate  in  the  harbor,  though  there 
are  several  frigates  and  sloops,  both  French  and  Dutch,  moored 
in  a  convenient  basin  at  their  left. 

The  Revenge  is  certainly  a  fine  ship.  She  has  a  round  stern 
after  the  Sepping's  plan,  which  is  ornamented  with  light  galle- 
ries used  as  places  of  lounge  for  die  officers  not  on  duty.  But 
on  the  whole,  she  is  not  considered  one  of  the  best  vessels 
of  her  rate  by  the  English  themselves.  She  bears  the  flag  of 
the  commanding  officer  on  the  Mediterranean  station,  and  in  this 
respect  answers  to  the  ship  of  Commodore  Rodgers,  who  under 
another  title  is,  virtually,  admiral  to  our  naval  forces  in  this  sea. 


104  MEDITERRANEAN. 

It  is  no  disparagement  to  the  Revenge  to  repeat  her  striking 
inferiority  to  the  North  Carolina.  The  latter  is  one  of  the  finest 
ships  which  ever  floated.  I  have  seen  in  the  harbor  and  docks 
of  Portsmouth  some  of  the  best  of  the  British  first  rates  ;  but  none 
which  in  potency  looked  her  superior.  She  is  now  in  highest 
feather,  and  no  royal  pleasure  yacht  can  beat  her  in  show. 
The  brass  caps  on  her  guns  are  polished  with  the  utmost  care. 
Her  long  red  boarding  pikes  are  ornamentally  stacked  around 
the  base  of  her  masts.  Marine  sentries  in  neat  uniform  are  sta- 
tioned in  different  quarters  of  the  ship,  on  its  outer  platforms, 
and  along  the  main  gangway  leading  down  its  lofty  side. 
Everything  exhibits  order,  beauty  and  pride  of  state.  A 
striking  specimen  of  this,  was  displayed  this  morning  when 
her  flags  were  lifted  for  the  day. 

The  Revenge  spread  hers  first,  at  the  hour  of  eight.  It  was 
handsomely  done,  and  accompanied,  as  on  lowering  them  last 
evening,  with  appropriate  music.  I  had  some  anxiety  to  see 
how  this  matter  v^^ould  be  managed  by  the  North  Carolina  when 
her  turn  should  come  j  and  certainly  hoped  that  it  would  be  as- 
worthy  of  praise. 

The  hour  stole  by  ;  and  nothing  was  seen  but  the  long  pen- 
dant stripe  that  always  floats  aloft,  and  no  note  nor  sign  of 
preparation  was  given  for  what  was  to  follow.  St  John's  struck 
the  hour  of  nine.  Its  last  tones  had  just  ceased  to  vibrate,  when 
a  volley  of  musketry  from  a  platoon  of  marines  firing  as  one 
man,  gave  the  signal.  Instantly  the  flags  were  thrown  forth,, 
unfurled  by  invisible  hands,  and  mounting  with  winged  haste  to 
their  respective  places.  The  ensign  at  the  mizen  peak,  and 
jack  on  the  bowsprit  staff,  the  starry  broad  blue  pendant,  —  em- 
blem of  the  Amercan  Union,  —  and  the  flag  of  the  fleet  at  the 
main  royal  truck,  in  the  lapse  of  a  few  moments  were  waving 
in  due  position.  A  powerful  band  upon  the  quarter-deck  sa- 
luted the  colours  of  the  Republic  with  the  inspiring  air  of  Hail 
Columbia,  followed  by  other  noble  strains.  The  rays  of  the 
sun  which  shone  full  on  the  broadside  of  the  magnificent  ship 
were  dazzlingly  reflected  from  the  burnished   muzzles  of  iier 


LAZARETTO*  105 

guns  in  triple  tiers.  And  the  wooing  breeze  played  gaily  in  the 
bosom  of  her  proud  streamers.  It  was  a  spectacle,  with  all  its 
accompaniments,  of  inimitable  grace.  The  ramparts  of  the 
overlooking  fortresses  were  lined  with  observing  groups ;  and 
for  myself,  I  yielded  to  a  throb  of  patriotic  eladon,  as  my  heart 
tlien  reverted  to  the  remembrance  of  my  country. 

At  twelve,  I  left  the  Packet  which  was  to  proceed  to  Corfu, 
and  was  rowed  to  the  Lazaretto.  This  establishment  is  placed 
in  the  centre  of  the  north  harbor,  on  an  island  which  it  divides 
with  Fort  Manuel  —  another  strong  post  with  five  bastions  and 
a  half  moon.  The  Fort  and  hospital  are  of  course  dis- 
joined. The  former  is  said  to  be  undermined,  a  provisional 
dernier  resort  in  case  of  threatened  capture.  The  Lazaretto  is 
a  vast  pile  of  building,  enclosing  several  squares,  and  capable  of 
receiving  at  once  ten  thousand  men.  I  understand  that  that 
number  was  actually  contained  in  it  at  one  period  in  the  late 
war.  The  squares  are  provided  with  inner  galleries,  and  these 
are  subdivided  to  prevent  intercourse.  A  custode  is  appointed 
to  each  company,  or  where,  as  in  my  case,  the  individual  is 
alone,  still  the  attendance  is  not  dispensed  with.  His  duty  is 
never  to  lose  sight  of  his  ward  when  abroad.  There  is  a  small 
quay  in  front  of  the  establishment  on  which  the  recreation  of 
walking  may  be  enjoyed. 

I  have  two  immense  rooms  and  a  court  assigned  for  my 
quarters.  It  is  considered  the  best  allotment  in  this  division  of 
the  building,  but  a  more  gloomy  establishment  it  would  be 
difficult  to  plan.  The  main  apartment  looks  like  a  convent- 
chapel,  only  dismantled  of  its  furniture.  The  centre  of  the 
vaulted  roof  is  full  thirty  feet  from  the  floor.  It  is  groined,  — 
some  half  score  of  arches  meeting  in  the  ceiling.  At  one  end 
is  a  grated  Gothic  window  elevated  beyond  reach,  or  hope.  A 
large  cross  is  painted  or  inlaid  in  the  glazing.  The  walls  are 
constructed  of  square  blocks  of  stone,  whitewashed.  The  floor 
is  a  flag  pavement.  Not  an  article  of  any  species  of  moveable 
was  in  the  apartment  on  my  entrance  ;  and  this  dismal  hall  the 
custode  calls  my  '  parlor.' 
14 


106  MEDITERRANEAN. 

Thanking  him  for  his  politeness,  let  us  take  a  turn  in  the 
*  kitchen.'  We  enter  it  by  a  passage  cut  through  thick  ribbed 
walls.  But  alas,  no  larder,  no  table  of  smoking  viands,  no 
deep-mouthed  chimney  place  salute  the  visiter ;  but  the  na- 
kedness of  a  cold,  bare  prison,  on  which  the  light  dimly 
streams  through  iron  barred  windows.  The  court  next  invites 
us.  It  is  terraced,  provided  with  a  cistern,  and  encompassed 
with  walls  several  yards  in  height,  the  strength  of  which  does 
honor  to  the  mason  who  reared  them  time  out  of  mind.  Noth- 
ing else  can  be  seen  saving  the  battlements  of  a  neighboring 
quadrangle. 

Whilst  I  was  ruminating  on  my  accommodations,  two  porters 
entered  bearing  a  field-bed  and  mattresses,  baskets  of  refresh- 
ments and  a  few  timely  et  ceteras,  which  had  been  despatched 
for  my  use  by  a  friend  in  town.  A  table  and  some  chairs 
followed,  and  a  note  was  delivered  saying,  that  a  purveyor  was 
provided  to  supply  my  other  wants,  and  that  dinner  would  be 
sent  me  at  a  seasonable  hour.  The  promise  was  fulfilled  ;  a 
bountiful  board,  —  no  thanks  to  my  kitchen  —  made  in  good 
time  its  welcome  appearance.  My  trunks  have  since  supplied  me 
with  books,  and  writing  materials,  and  with  them  I  have  sought 
to  beguile  ray  imprisonment.  The  evening  has  waned.  Pietra 
has  just  spread  my  bed,  or  rather  pitched  my  encampment  in 
the  centre  of  this  Gothic  hall.  I  go  to  take  possession.  All  is. 
still  excepting  his  footfall,  the  echo  of  which  rumbles  along  the 
roof.  I  have  tried  to  converse  with  him,  but  for  want  of  a 
sounding-board  have  been  obliged  to  desist.  The  voice  is  lost 
in  never  ending  reverberations.  Pietro  has  lighted  a  taper  or 
two  extra  to  dispel  the  thick  gloom,  as  much  for  his  sake  as  my 
own  ;  but  without  pretending  the  conjurer,  I  can  tell  him  that  if 
ghosts  walk,  they  will  surely  look  in  upon  us  before  the  cock 
crows. 

Feb.  3.  —  That  there  is  wisdom  in  certain  quarantine  regu- 
lations cannot  be  disputed.  A  rigid  adherence  to  them  has 
banished  the  plague,  and  doubdess  some  other  scourges  from 
European  ports,  which  have  suffered  in  the  absence  of  such 


aUARANTINING  — SMALL-POX.  107 

restrictions.  Vessels  which  come  from  the  upper  Levant 
should  be  carefully  inspected,  and  they  all  may  undergo  a  rea- 
sonable term  of  sequestration.  The  same  may  be  said  of  ships 
whose  crews  in  whole  or  in  part  have  been  elsewhere  exposed 
to  infection,  or  which  manifest  its  symptoms.  The  North 
Carolina  is  in  this  predicament.  The  contagion  of  small-pox 
was  contracted  at  some  port,  whether  Tunis  or  Toulon  I  have 
not  learned,  and  this  was  one  of  the  reasons  of  her  putting  into 
the  harbor  of  Valetta.  The  sick  were  immediately  removed  to  a 
quarter  of  the  Lazaretto,  where  several  have  died,  the  last  was 
buried  yesterday.  The  residue  of  the  crew  on  board,  consid- 
erably exceeding  eight  hundred,  are  in  the  enjoyment  of  perfect 
health.  Still  the  ship  is  rigidly  sequestered,  and  the  only  com- 
munication with  the  shore  is  by  the  Parlatorio,  or  here  at  the 
hospital. 

But  I  confess  my  ignorance  to  perceive  on  what  rational 
grounds  a  confinement  like  mine  can  be  pleaded.  A  passenger 
in  a  British  ship,  from  a  British  port  which  is  known  to  be  free 
from  contagious  distempers,  having  sailed  with  a  company  of 
men  and  officers  all  hale  and  sound,  and  bearing  myself  a  bill 
of  health,  under  the  seal  of  his  excellency  of  Gibraltar,  addressed 
to  the  port  authorities  at  Malta,  I  can  see  nothing  in  my  deten- 
tion in  a  Lazaretto  but  an  act  of  vexatious  imposition.  It  is 
nothing  to  the  point  that  the  rule  is  irrespective,  it  is  then  unwise ; 
that  the  laws  of  quarantine  cannot  be  suspended,  they  are  then 
arbitrary ;  that  my  period  of  imprisonment  is  short,  it  is  as 
tedious  as  four  long  days  can  make  them.  Happily  I  saved 
one  of  them  on  shipboard,  but  yet  I  have  another  to  notch 
before  the  tally  will  be  complete.  ^^ 

I  obtained  permission  to  visit  my  countrymen  who  are  lodged 
here.  The  interview  across  a  barrier  was  sufficiently  guarded. 
I  learned  from  the  officers  that  nearly  all  the  patients  are  con- 
valescent. The  few  who  had  died  were  victims  to  undoubted 
small  pox,  not  varioloid ;  and  two  or  three  cases  were  of  the 
worst  confluent  form.  Yet  all  of  the  crew  were  innoculated  for 
the  kine  pock  before  the  departure  of  the  ship  from  America. 
The  subjects  of  previous  vaccination  formed  no  exception. 


108  MEDITERRANEAN. 

If  this  fact  should  seem  to  impair  the  credit  of  the  vaccine 
lymph  as  a  preservative  against  small  pox,  its  general  virtue 
in  reality  is  demonstrated.  For,  that  almost  nine-tenths  of  a 
crew  consisting,  —  officers  and  men,  all  told,  —  of  nearly  one 
thousand,  should  entirely  escape  contagion, — that  nineteen 
twentieths  of  those  who  received  it,  should  exhibit  only  mild 
symptoms  of  disease,  —  and  when  it  is  considered  that  those 
infected  with  genuine  small-pox,  were  men  probably  whose 
constitutions,  vitiated  by  previous  disease  or  intemperance, 
resisted  the  benign  and  defensive  operation  of  the  vaccine 
matter,  the  claims  of  the  last  to  respect  and  confidence  are  not 
intrinsically  abated.  In  general,  however,  it  may  be  admitted 
that  the  school  of  Jenner  at  first  advanced  too  much.  And 
when  disappointment  followed,  its  opponents  stood  ready  to 
parade  it.  But  they  were  too  unmeasured  in  abuse.  They 
forgot,  or  had  not  known,  that  cases  had  occurred  of  a  second 
reception  of  small  pox  where  once  it  had  been  imbibed  and 
had  its  run  by  direct  innoculation.  Nay,  instances  of  such  re- 
currence have  happened  after  it  has  been  taken  in  the  natural 
way.  A  memorable  example  1  recollect  to  have  seen  recorded 
in  the  annual  report  of  the  trustees  of  the  British  Vaccine  Fund, 
a  few  years  ago,  of  a  man  who  having  survived  a  violent  attack 
of  the  small  pox  contracted  naturally,  suffered  twice,  subse- 
quently, all  the  stages  of  the  same  distemper,  though  greatly 
ameliorated.  This  solitary  case  was  contingent,  doubtless,  on 
idiosyncracy ;  predispositions  to  diseases  being  variant  in  differ- 
ent constitutions. 

On  the  whole,  it  appears  that  neither  cow  pox  nor  small  pox 
are  certain  safeguards  against  a  species  of  disease  analagous  to 
the  latter,  though  usually  of  milder  type.  But  the  doctrine  of 
chances  is  found  on  observation  to  be  on  the  side  of  the  first 
named  agent ;  and  the  distemper  which  may  follow  upon  fresh 
contagion,  is  ascertained  to  be  lighter  than  that  which  occa- 
sionally ensues  by  the  other  method.  Physicians  have  given 
it  the  name  of  varioloid,  a  name  not  very  precise,  and  some 
pretend  that  it  owes  its  origin  to  the  discovery  and  use  of  vac- 


A  SKETCH.  109 

cination.  Be  it  so :  it  is  a  happy  exchange  for  that  tremendous 
pestilence,  the  small-pox ;  and  how  generally  it  has  banished 
this,  may  be  seen  in  our  American  cities.  The  man  of  middle 
age  can  remember  when  a  boy,  the  many  faces  of  persons  he 
used  to  meet,  scarred  by  the  unseemly  ravages  of  small  pox ; 
and  those  persons  were  but  survivors  of  multitudes  who  had 
follen  victims  to  its  unsparing  desolations.  Now  that  our  cities 
have  doubled  and  trebled  their  population,  the  pitted  visage  has 
almost  totally  disappeared,  and  whenever  met  with;  is  an  object 
of  notice  from  its  very  rarity. 

Lounging  through  the  privileged  quarter  of  the  Lazaretto, 
my  man  Friday  always  at  my  elbow,  I  am  the  more  struck 
with  its  vastness  and  nakedness.  A  few  Greeks  occupy  rooms 
at  a  remote  corner  of  a  wing  on  my  left.  One  or  two  gentle- 
men are  lodged  in  the  central  building  where  I  am  stationed,  or 
rather  entombed.  The  sick  are  separated  far  away  in  the  north- 
erly division  of  the  establishment.  From  my  rooms  I  hear  a 
poor  captive  above,  thrumming  the  live-long  day  on  a  guitar, 
and  singing  with  plaintive  voice  ditties  in  remembrance  per- 
chance of  some  absent  fair,  or  a  lament  for  his  kindred  and 
home.  And  in  the  morning  I  am  mocked  by  the  merrier 
concert  of  swallows,  twittering  under  the  old  eaves  where  they 
have  built;  —  but  bating  these  exceptions,  silence  and  solitude 
reign  throughout  the  halls,  corridors  and  courts  of  this  immense 
edifice.  Many  dates  are  rudely  cut  in  the  old  walls,  left  by 
those  who  have  successively  lodged  around.  I  have  observed 
several  more  than  a  century  old  ;  one  was  of  1 700,  and  another 
of  1689.  I  am  reminded  that  the  last  was  the  memorable  year 
when  the  knights  made  their  unfortunate  assault  on  Negropont, 
and  suffered  a  disastrous  repulse.  Other  rude  carvings  have 
amused  me,  memorials  of  all  nations,  tastes  and  languages. 
Besides  names  and  specified  terms  of  quarantine,  there  are 
morceaus  of  poetry  and  prose,  emblems  of  anchors,  flags,  ships, 
crosses,  shrines,  and  the  initials  of  the  Virgin  and  Son  in  pious 
cipher.  They  show  the  hours  of  listlessness  and  ennui  passed 
by  others  who  have  preceded  me. 


110  MEDITERRANEAN. 

I  have  had  a  kindly  call  or  two  from  the  city.  A  bundle  of 
books  was  sent,  among  which  I  find  the  very  appropriate,  if  not 
novel  one,  of  Zimmerman  on  Solitude.  There  came,  too,  the 
welcome  present  of  a  bunch  of  flowers,  comprising  a  beautiful 
variety  of  blossoms  of  the  season,  —  geraniums,  roses,  violets, 
and  carnations.  They  recall  the  sweet  month  of  a  New  Eng- 
land June,  rather  than  the  season  of  our  bleak  February^  The 
temperature  of  Malta  is  quite  as  foreign,  the  glass  shaded  on 
my  terrace  indicating  at  two  P.  M.  seventynine  of  Fahrenheit. 

Feb,  4.  —  Ten  A.  M.  La  Valetta.  I  have  just  obtained 
my  emancipation,  and  am  happy  in  tasting  again  the  sweets  of 
freedom.  An  hour  ago.  Signer  E.  obligingly  called  in  person 
to  take  me  in  his  boat  to  town.  I  was  glad  once  more  to  seize 
the  hand  of  a  friend  and  fellow-being.  I  was  not  long  in  em- 
barking, leaving  my  ca/Tzp-equipage,  —  bag  and  baggage,  —  to 
follow.  In  a  few  minutes  we  touched  the  rock  of  Malta,  and  I 
was  conducted  through  streets  of  many  a  turn,  to  an  excellent 
house  in  Palace  Square. 

It  is  Sunday,  and  I  have  not  time  to  write  more.  Breakfast 
waits,  and  then  comes  the  hour  of  divine  service.  I  have 
already  seen  some  novelties,  and  my  attention  will  probably  be 
attracted  to  others  before  the  day  closes.  The  record  of  my 
impressions  is  reserved  for  another  chapter. 


CHAPTER    V 


MALTA. 

Aspect  of  the  City.  —  Style  and  Material  of  Building.  —  Curious  Balconies. — 
Condition  of  the  Inhabitants.  —  Peculiarities  of  Dress. —  Sunday  in  Malta.  — 
A  Caleche.  —  Excursion  to  St  Antonio.  —  Aqueduct.  —  Maltese  Husbandry.  — 
Grand  Masters'  Garden.  —  Language  of  the  Islanders.  —  Specimens  of  Native-. 
Poetry. —  Rhodian  Families.  —  Catholic  Churches.  —  Character  and  Influence 
of  the  Clergy.  —  Policy  of  the  Government,  Past  and  Present.  —  Spiritual 
Courts.  —  Festival  in  Honour  of  St  Paul.  —  Image  of  the  Saiut.  —  Thoughts  on 
the  Effects  of  his  Doctrine. 

La  Valetta  ;  Piazza  St  Georgii,  Feb.  5.  —  This  is  a  brave 
old  place.  Malta  has  the  genuine  hoar  of  antiquity,  quite  to  my 
taste.  It  claims  by  its  very  aspect  a  tribute  of  veneration  which 
I  am  not  willing  to  withhold. 

The  appearance  of  things  carries  me  back  in  imagination  to  a 
period  far  more  remote  than  the  origin  of  the  objects  themselves. 
La  Valetta  with  its  suburbs,  has  not  the  dust  of  accumulated 
centuries  heaped  upon  it.  Its  history,  though  a  crowded  one, 
is  easily  unrolled.  It  embraces  but  a  small  part  of  the  scroll  of 
even  modern  annals.  It  is  scarcely  two  centuries  and  a  half,  ab 
URBE  condita,  —  since  the  foundation  was  laid  of  the  city  of 
Valette,  and  '  Melita  renascens '  was  written  upon  the  corner 
stone  ;  yet  the  eye  that  ranges  over  the  structures  which  have 
subsequently  arisen,  would  presume  them  to  be  the  monuments 
of  an  age  coeval  with  empires  which  have  long  passed  away. 

Much  of  this  is  owing  to  the  style  of  architecture  employed ; 
but  more,  to  the  nature  of  the  building  material.  It  is  a  soft 
crumbling  free  stone.  When  fresh  quarried,  it  would  seem 
totally  unfitted  for  permanent  erections,  but  it  is  found  to  harden 


112  MALTA. 

considerably,  especially  on  the  surface.  This  process  continues 
for  some  years,  and  the  stone  during  that  time  may  be  consid- 
ered as  improving.  But  at  length  the  crust  begins  to  peel  and 
separate.  The  action  of  the  air  by  which  it  was  first  indurated, 
gradually  decomposes  and  destroys  it.  The  desquamation  con- 
tinues till  in  the  lapse  of  a  century  the  outer  walls  of  the  most 
massive  fabrics,  unless  carefully  repaired,  display  a  ruinous 
aspect.  Accordingly,  the  walls  of  even  private  houses  are  made 
unusually  thick.  They  are  actually  firmer  than  their  external 
appearance  often  indicates  ;  and  the  rooms  they  enclose,  besides 
being  spacious,  are  rendered  proportionably  cooler,  and  more 
comfortable  during  the  sultry  summer  months.  Still  the  first  gen- 
eral impression  of  things  without,  which  an  observer  takes  up,  is 
that  of  decay.  La  Valetta  appears  to  his  eye  as  a  vast  fortress 
which  the  hand  of  time  is  despoiling,  and  on  whose  venerable  walls 
it  has  inscribed  the  sentence  of  a  final  and  no  distant  overthrow. 

The  stone  of  Malta  being  abundant  and  easily  wrought,  is 
converted  into  all  possible  uses.  The  floors  of  houses,  to  their 
very  attics,  are  composed  of  it.  Staircases,  balustrades  and  bal- 
conies, are  formed  from  the  same  material.  As  a  specimen  I 
find  the  floors,  walls  and  ceiling  of  my  apartment  laid  in  solid 
blocks  of  it.  The  heavy  valves  of  my  doors,  I  almost  thought 
must  be  made  of  stone,  so  many  are  the  uses  to  which  it  is  other- 
wise applied.  In  a  more  natural  appropriation,  viz.  for  paving, 
it  is  found  of  little  use.  It  proves  on  trial  too  soft,  and  the 
streets  consequently  are  laid  with  stones  imported  at  considerable 
cost.  The  main  thorough-fare,  Strada  Reale,  is  paved  with 
jEtnean  lava,  shaped  in  pieces  a  foot  square,  and  this  is  ascer- 
tained to  be  an  excellent  and  durable  substitute  for  the  native 
rock. 

The  houses  of  Malta  are  generally  lofty,  and  have  quite  a 
palace  look.  The  roofs  form  a  flat  terrace,  plastered  with  poz- 
zolana,  and  may  be  used  as  places  of  promenade  and  observa- 
tion. I  have  already  availed  myself  of  the  terrace  of  this  house 
to  survey  the  town  and  environs ;  and  a  commanding  position  it 
is.     It  was  while  walking  on  a  roof  of  such  construction  that 


BUILDINGS  —  BALCONIES .  113 

David  saw,  and  was  enamoured  with,  the  charms  of  Uriah's  wife. 
Looking  down  on  the  surrounding  courts  J  have  also  seen  maids 
and  matrons,  but  none  were  Bathshebas  in  beauty,  nor  were 
any  bathing.  To  a  similar  style  of  building  the  scripture  alludes 
when  it  says,  *  Let  not  him  who  is  on  the  house  top  come  down 
to  take  anything  away;'  —  i.  e.  let  him  hasten  at  once  to  the 
street-stairs  and  descend,  and  join  the  gathering  multitude  pre- 
pared to  fly  from  the  city  of  destruction.  From  the  roof  of 
this  house,  an  uninterrupted  walk  may  be  had  to  the  next  square, 
and  if  the  street  were  bridged  from  roof  to  roof,  the  walk  might 
be  continued  over  the  whole  town. 

Strada  Reale  (King  street,)  is  the  main  avenue  of  Valetta. 
It  is  tolerably  broad,  and  lined  with  noble  buildings.  The  par- 
allel streets  are  mostly  narrow.  Vicary's,  w4iere  I  am  lodged, 
is  built  on  the  square  formed  by  Strada  Reale  and  Strada  Stretta, 
(literally,  '  the  street  which  is  called  strait,')  and  fronts  on  St 
George's  piazza,  a  spacious  court  before  the  old  palace  of  the 
Grand  Masters.  The  windows  of  my  apartments  are  provided 
with  the  general  appendage  of  balconies,  and  from  the  central 
position  of  the  house  I  have  many  materials  of  observation  with- 
out stirring  abroad. 

These  balconies  are  a  curious  feature  in  the  Maltese  houses. 
They  are  of  all  sizes  and  patterns.  Some  are  very  uncouth,  but 
their  oddness  is  not  disagreeable.  The  stone  work  is  fantasti- 
cally carved,  and  the  frame  above  is  frequently  glazed,  and 
painted  with  various  colours,  such  as  green,  blue  and  slate.  Some 
of  the  balconies  are  like  the  segment  of  a  ship's  round  house, 
grappled  to  the  sides  of  the  tenements.  They  are  provided 
frequently  with  blinds  as  well  as  windows,  which  swing  open 
from  hinges  fixed  above,  and  not  laterally.  I  have  seen  several 
of  the  size  of  litde  parlors.  They  are  neatly  finished  within, 
ornamented  with  paintings  and  flowers,  and  furnished  with  seats 
and  a  table.  Members  of  families  spend  whole  hours  in  them, 
and  receive  visiters  there,  or  pursue  their  avocations  and  amuse- 
ments, the  chief  of  which  however  seems  to  be  that  of  gazing 
on  the  passing  crowd.  The  smaller  balconies  are  scarcely  bigger 
15 


114  MALTA. 

than  sentry-boxes.  Two  or  three  persons  can  just  wedge  them- 
selves in,  and  there  they  will  sit  like  statues  for  the  half  day 
together.  One  man  I  observed  yesterday  in  a  little  balcony  of 
Strada  Stretta,  —  wrapped  in  a  cloak,  and  his  swarthy  fea- 
tures half  hid  by  a  low  slouched  hat,  —  who  was  fixed  to  his  seat 
for  four  good  hours.  His  sole  earthly  object  was  that  of  scru- 
tinizing the  motley  multitudes  that  passed  beneath.  He  looked 
like  Diogenes  in  his  tub. 

Such  excrescences  give  a  strange  bulging  shape  to  the  fronts 
of  the  houses  ;  especially  where  as  in  some  cases  they  project 
half  way  over  the  street.  They  are  an  anomaly  in  architecture 
which  I  have  nowhere  seen.  But  the  streets  themselves  are 
often  oddly  constructed.  Those  on  the  sides  of  the  rocky 
promontory,  instead  of  being  gently  sloped  and  made  passable 
for  wheels,  are  spaced  off  like  stairways.  St  Paolo  is  one  ;  both 
the  street  and  side  walks  are  graduated  by  this  clumsy  method ; 
and  the  pedestrian  who  ascends  it  is  doomed,  for  no  crime  of 
his  own,  to  much  the  same  penance  as  that  of  stepping  a  tread- 
mill. There  is  another  peculiarity  which  arrests  attention.  The 
lower  windows  of  houses  are  protected  by  iron  grates.  The 
strength  of  the  bars  shows  that  something  more  than  the  glass 
is  meant  to  be  guarded.  The  frames  protrude  several  inches 
from  the  walls,  and  give  a  monastic,  or  rather  a  prison-like  look 
to  the  edifices.  Their  purpose  is  not  to  prevent  the  inmates  of 
houses  from  breaking  out,  but  others  from  breaking  in  ;  and  on 
the  whole,  it  does  not  furnish  so  pleasing  an  augury  of  the  char- 
acter of  the  population  as  might  be  wished. 

How  the  multitude  can  be  expected  to  be  honest,  it  would 
be  difficult  to  imagine.  They  are  ignorant,  poor,  and  without 
employment.  Swarms  are  abroad  who  seem  to  have  no  visible 
means  of  subsistence,  and  where  they  lay  their  heads  at  night,  I 
know  not.  La  Valetta  apparently  could  not  accommodate  one 
half  of  them.  Yet  rents,  I  understand,  are  very  low.  An  excel- 
lent house,  with  court,  cisterns  and  other  appurtenances,  may  be 
hired  for  one  hundred  or  one  hundred  and  thirty  Spanish  dollars 
a  year.     Many  large  dwellings  are  cut  up  and  portioned  out  to 


INHABITANTS.  115 

tenants,  —  a  single  room  serving  for  a  whole  family.  This  is 
turning  them  seemingly  to  better  account  by  the  landlord,  than 
renting  each  house  altogether,  as  one  or  two  small  apartments 
will  rent  for  1 8  or  20  dollars  ;  but  it  is  probable  that  the  tenants 
who  are  obliged  to  take  up  witli  such  narrow  accommodations, 
are  not  always  the  best  paymasters.  In  fact,  the  poverty  of  the 
major  part  of  the  population  is  more  than  an  offset  to  its  re- 
dundancy in  numbers,  in  regulating  the  price  of  rents.  Gibraltar, 
perhaps,  is  equally  crowded  as  La  Valetta  taken  alone ;  but  the 
difference  is,  that  in  Gibraltar  labor  is  in  demand  ;  every  man, 
woman  and  child  can  find  something  to  do,  and  is  paid  for  it. 
Of  course  they  can  afford  the  expense  of  a  comfortable  shelter 
for  their  heads.  Here,  not  Valetta  only,  but  all  its  suburbs  and 
indeed  all  Malta,  swarms  like  a  bee-hive,  and  a  large  part  of  the 
people  are  without  money,  without  employment,  and  so  far  as  I 
can  see  without  bread  or  habitations.  How  they  live  by  day 
or  dispose  of  themselves  by  night,  are  matters  of  mystery.  Hun- 
dreds of  them  it  would  seem  can  have  no  other  bed  than  the 
cold  bare  pavement.  But  this  is  a  matter  to  which  I  shall 
advert  when  my  opportunities  of  observation  and  inquiry  will 
be  more  extended. 

The  people  appear  to  be  a  hardy  and  capable  race.  The 
men  have  generally  spare  figures,  a  little  under  the  middle 
stature,  but  very  muscular  and  active.  Their  faces  are  naturally 
swarthy,  they  are  sunburnt  by  the  universal  custom  of  wearing  un- 
shaded caps,  either  cotton  or  woollen.  The  colour  of  their  skins 
is  the  same  as  that  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  neighboring  states  of 
Barbary.  Indeed  there  is  much  in  the  looks  of  the  people 
which  denotes  a  similar  origin,  particularly  in  their  short  crisped 
hair,  and  a  certain  flatness  of  the  nose.  It  is  said  that  their 
language  is  so  nearly  the  same  with  that  spoken  on  the  Barbary 
shore,  that  the  natives  perfectly  understand  one  another. 

The  dress  of  the  Maltese  is  very  singular,  but  as  I  have  no 
time  to  enter  into  minutise  just  now,  I  will  confine  myself  to  that 
of  the  women.  When  abroad,  they  are  all  arrayed  in  black. 
They  put  on  over  their  other  dress  a  robe  or  loose  skirt  of  that 


116  MALTA. 

colour,  brought  high  on  the  bosom,  and  in  place  of  bonnets  their 
heads  are  covered  with  a  black  silk  mantle  which  invests  their 
shoulders,  and  descends  half  way  behind.  The  part  which 
covers  the  head  is  furnished  with  a  piece  of  whalebone  inserted 
in  the  hem,  which  keeps  it  in  position,  and  prevents  the  silk  from 
dropping  over  the  eyes.  One  hand  placed  inside,  is  always 
necessary  to  hold  together  the  sides  of  the  scarf  in  front ;  and 
the  other  is  often  hid  under  its  folds,  only  a  fore-finger  being 
suffered  to  peep  out  through  an  opening  left  for  the  purpose. 
Of  course,  under  such  mufflers  little  can  be  seen  of  the  beauties 
of  form  or  feature,  if  a  Maltese  nymph  happen  to  possess  them  ; 
the  eyes  and  a  moving  pall-black  figure  are  all  that  can  be  dis- 
tinguished. But  sometimes  the  fair  one  deigns  to  exhibit  her 
face  to  a  curious  gazer,  in  place  of  engrossing  to  herself  the 
privilege  of  seeing  ;  and  features  good  humored,  rather  pleasing 
than  handsome,  and  irradiated  by  a  pair  of  fine  sparkling  eyes, 
are  displayed  to  the  beholder.  The  complexion  is  a  dark  olive 
but  partaking  a  litde  too  much  of  a  sort  of  mulatto  tinge.  The 
mantle  is  obviously  borrowed,  or  rather  it  has  descended,  from 
a  distant  age  and  people.  It  answers  to  the  veil  of  Eastern 
ladies. 

Such  figures,  thousands  of  whom  were  abroad  yesterday,  it 
being  Sunday,  give  the  streets  a  funereal  look.  It  seems  as  if 
all  Malta  had  gone  into  mourning.  A  gentleman  who  came  to 
reside  here  a  few  years  ago,  describes  the  effect  on  him  some- 
what differently.  Conversing  today  on  the  subject,  he  said  that 
he  took  every  Maltese  woman  whom  he  saw  on  landing  for  a 
nun ;  and  the  wonder  in  his  mind  was  how  they  were  suffered 
to  walk  at  large  beyond  their  cloisters.  Certain  it  is  the  impres- 
sion produced  is  very  singular. 

In  the  cathedral  of  St  John's,  yesterday,  at  the  hour  of  mass, 
I  found  the  great  central  area  covered  with  these  sable  figures. 
Hundreds  were  kneeling  in  silent  devotion,  their  faces  all  directed 
to  the  high  altar,  and  eyes  bent  on  the  pavement,  and  I  could 
not  but  contemplate  a  congregation  of  such  worshippers  with 
more  than  usually  lively  interest. 


GOVERNMENT  CHAPEL.  117 

Popery  here  wears  a  lordly  mien,  but  Protestantism  appears 
in  a  depressed  condition,  —  more  low  indeed  than  lowly.  Gov- 
ernment can  hardly  boast  the  form  of  spreading  a  fostering  wing 
over  it.  It  has  done  less  here  for  the  interests  of  the  Protestant 
church  than  at  Gibraltar,  and  there  it  was  little  enough.  There 
is  a  chapel  devoted  to  the  Episcopal  service,  set  off  in  a  part  of 
the  old  Grand  Masters'  establishment,  which  in  the  days  of  the 
knights  was  employed  for  a  very  different  purpose,  —  having  been 
used,  as  lam  credibly  informed,  for  the  ecurie  of  the  sovereigns 
of  the  Order.  It  is  now  the  government  church  ;  and  thus, 
where  horses  have  been  stalled,  men  assemble  to  worship.  The 
ostlery  has  undergone  some  alterations  of  course  to  accommodate 
it  to  its  present  more  honorable  appropriation,  but  the  walls, 
mutatis  mutandis,  remain  the  same.  It  is  a  long  room,  more 
like  an  extended  entry  or  corridor  than  a  hall,  and  situated  in  a 
damp,  gloomy  basement  story.  What  is  more,  this  is  the  only 
place  of  Episcopal  worship  in  Malta.  I  attended  divine  service 
there  yesterday,  and  was  chilled  by  a  cold  sermon  and  the  sight 
of  a  meagre  attendance  of  worshippers.  The  whole  congregation 
could  not  be  estimated  at  more  than  a  hundred. 

As  respects  Protestantism,  therefore,  on  the  island  the  ark  of 
God  may  be  said  to  abide,  if  not  in  a  tent,  yet  in  a  stable.  It  is 
true  that  the  Saviour  of  the  world  condescended  to  be  born  in 
no  better  place,  a  manger  having  cradled  his  nativity ;  but  it  may 
be  doubted  whether  Christians  are  at  liberty  to  commemorate 
even  his  humiliation,  by  the  selection  of  such  a  spot  for  their 
devotions.  To  that  very  manger  where  the  Lord  was  born, 
some  Eastern  magians,  we  read,  bore  princely  gifts;  and 
they  offered  the  tribute  of  gold,  frankincense  and  myrrh.  It  is 
on  record,  moreover,  to  the  honor  of  Israel's  king,  that  it  was  in 
his  heart  to  build  a  magnificent  temple  for  the  worship  of  the 
Most  High ;  and  he  left  it  in  special  charge  to  his  son  and  royal 
successor,  to  apply  the  treasures  which  he  had  religiously 
amassed  for  that  great  object.  But  here  is  a  civilized  Christian 
power,  foremost  among  the  Protestant  nations,  and  that  boasts 


118  MALTA. 

its  enlightened  piety,  its  riches  and  resources,  which  shamefully 
neglects  in  colonies  like  this,  where  its  will  is  law,  the  interests 
of  a  church  which  is  recognised  at  home  as  the  firmest  pillar  of 
the  British  throne. 

Nowhere  have  I  known  such  a  total  perversion  of  the  Sabbath 
as  was  remarked  here  yesterday.  The  churches  of  Catholics 
were  thronged  indeed  with  devotees  at  the  service  of  mass,  and 
tlie  doors  of  the  Episcopal  chapel  were  open,  not  thronged,  at 
the  appointed  hour.  But  these  forms  being  over,  no  savour  of 
holiness  hallowed  the  season.  Many  occupations  were  pursued 
as  on  other  days.  Amusements  were  courted.  The  bastions 
were  crowded  with  saunterers ;  the  balconies  with  listless  gazers. 
Strolling  musicians  perambulated  the  streets.  The  din  of  arms 
was  frequently  heard.  Troops  were  paraded.  Hawkers  were 
crying  their  saleables  through  the  town ;  and  as  I  looked  down 
from  ray  windows,  the  streets  exhibited  an  unceasing  ebb  and 
flow,  like  the  tumultuous  heavings  of  a  troubled  sea,  the  live 
long  day. 

I  had  scarcely  entered  my  apartments  yesterday  when  a  mu- 
sical band,  understanding  that  a  stranger  had  arrived,  took  their 
stations  at  the  door  and  commenced  a  deafened  clangor  with  a 
variety  of  instruments,  of  which  a  base-drum  was  by  no  means 
the  heaviest.  Neither  bribes  nor  commands  could  force  them 
away.  They  still  insisted  on  playing  in  compliment  to  '  il  signer 
Americano,'  —  a  notable  personage  not  often  seen  in  Malta ;  — 
and  at  last  I  was  obliged  to  summon  a  posse  of  the  household,  with 
the  landlord  at  their  head,  to  put  them  to  the  rout.  And  this 
was  a  specimen  of  the  order  of  the  day.  But  my  hand  aches, 
and  I  have  no  time  nor  spirits  to  add  more. 

Feb.  6.  —  Today  I  made  an  excursion  into  the  country.  A 
carriage  was  called,  and  as  it  belongs  to  a  class  of  curiosities, 
it  demands  a  cursory  notice.  The  body  is  shaped  something 
after  the  form  of  an  old  fashioned  chariot.  It  has  dark  painted 
pannels,  and  is  accommodated  with  a  single  seat.  There  are 
glasses  in  front  and  at  the  sides.     The  carriage  is  mounted  on 


AN  EXCURSION.  119 

one  pair  of  wheels,  and  dragged  by  a  mule.  The  animal  is 
loaded  with  various  kinds  of  gear  showily  contrived  and  arranged. 
The  vehicle,  termed  a  caUche,  has  no  place  for  the  driver.  He 
holds  the  whip  and  reins,  and  runs  manfully  a  pied.  His  habit 
was  the  gala  dress  of  the  native  Maltese.  Over  a  vest  orna- 
mented with  an  abundance  of  large  gilt  buttons,  he  wore  a  short 
cloak,  called  a  caban,  reaching  rather  below  the  small  of  the 
back.  A  broad  red  sash  was  twisted  several  times  around  his 
waist.  The  seams  of  his  small  clothes  were  lined  with  an  un- 
conscionable row  of  buttons  ;  and  his  feet  were  protected  by  a 
rude  sort  of  sandal  —  a  leathern  sole  being  fastened  with  strings 
laced  about  the  ancle.  The  peak  of  his  long  red  cap  decorated 
with  a  tassel,  hung  in  front,  the  invariable  style  of  wearing  that 
covering  by  the  Maltese. 

The  driver  cracked  his  whip,  and  in  a  bright  balmy  morning 
we  set  forth.  Whether  to  show  the  speed  of  the  mule  or  his 
own  fleetness  of  foot,  he  put  the  animal  up  to  a  brisk  trot.  Leav- 
ing Porta  Reale,  we  dashed  over  draw-bridge,  through  gate  and 
portcullis,  and  entered  the  splendid  esplanade  of  Florian. 
Emerging  from  this  by  a  military  pass  through  bulwarks  of  sur- 
prising strength,  I  found  myself  fairly  abroad  a  la  champagne. 
Here  I  expected  the  ardor  of  my  feathered  mercury  would 
cool ;  but  no,  he  drove  on  as  though  racing  against  time.  I 
called  to  him  to  rein  up,  out  of  pure  compassion  to  himself,  but 
he  must  only  have  understood  it  as  a  word  of  encouragement, 
for  his  whip  was  again  flourished,  and  both  he  and  the  spirited 
beast  measured  their  paces  with  redoubled  diligence.  In  fact, 
he  had  his  orders  where  to  go  before  starting.  Vicary  had 
translated  them  ;  and  as  for  other  topics  I  found  I  must  wait  till 
returning  to  my  interpreter.  Coachey  knew  nothing  of  my 
English,  and  1  was  quite  as  ignorant  of  his  native  patois. 

We  drove  through  devious  zigzag  roads  which  in  any  other 
country  would  have  been  called  by-paths.  They  were  fenced 
with  high  stone  walls,  strongly  built  and  sometimes  cemented. 
These  highways  were  often  too  narrow  to  admit  of  two  carriages 
going  abreast ;  and  on  entering  such  avenues  it  was  usual  to 


120  MALTA. 

sound    a  note  of  warning  to  vehicles  in  advance,  to  stop  for 
mutual  accommodation  in  wider  passes. 

It  was  not  long  before  we  came  in  sight  of  the  noble  aqueduct 
which  supplies  La  Valetta  with  water.  The  route  lay  along  it 
for  several  miles,  and  I  had  an  opportunity  of  surveying  and 
admiring  that  most  useful  construction.  I  have  omitted  to  ob- 
serve that  though  the  houses  of  the  city  and  suburbs  are  all  pro- 
vided with  private  cisterns  —  every  drop  of  rainwater  being 
carefully  preserved  by  means  of  pipes,  conducting  from  the  ter- 
raced roofs  to  the  proper  reservoirs,  —  yet  the  supply  of  water 
was  found  by  no  means  adequate  to  the  wants  of  a  large  and  in- 
creasing population.  Much  inconvenience,  and  at  times  actual 
suffering  was  the  consequence.  To  provide  against  such 
scarcity,  Vignacourt,  a  grand  master  of  great  public  spirit  and 
munificence,  commenced  in  an  early  period  of  his  administra- 
tion the  aqueduct  just  alluded  to,  and  finished  it.  entirely  at  his 
private  cost,  in  1616.  By  this  conveyance  an  unfailing  supply 
of  salubrious  water  is  brought  from  a  central  spot  of  the  island 
called  Diar  Chandal,  over  a  line  of  many  thousand  noble  arches 
f  xtending  not  less  than  thirteen  miles,  and  terminating  in  a  grand 
reservoir  in  palace-square.  Conduits  are  thence  made  to  take 
the  fountain  water  into  all  the  public  and  private  tanks  of  the 
city.  The  work  being  partially  decayed,  the  grand  master 
Rohan  undertook  its  repair  about  the  year  1780  ;  and  the  whole 
now  displays  perfect  solidity.  Such  a  costly  structure  shows 
the  riches  which  must  have  flowed  into  the  private  coffers  oi 
the  Grand  Masters  of  the  order  of  St  John. 

In  prosecuting  my  little  tour  I  had  an  opportunity  of  verifying 
the  reports  of  the  extraordinary  fertility  of  Malta,  despite  of  its 
rough  and  sterile  appearance  on  approaching  the  coast.  No 
part  of  the  island  seems  to  be  neglected  ;  and  the  industry  of 
the  peasantry  both  in  preparing  the  soil  and  in  turning  it  to 
best  account,  is  truly  wonderful. 

The  redundant  earth  found  in  valleys  is  scooped  out  and 
heaped  in  nearly  horizontal  layers  against  the  sides  of  the 
hills,  and  is  kept  in  place  by  innumerable  stone  walls  built  ex- 


ST  ANTONIO.  121 

pressly  for  supporters,  and  which  are  carried  up  considerably 
above  the  surface  of  the  soil.  The  small  enclosures  thus  formed 
are  irregularly  arranged.  Beauty  was  not  consulted,  but  only 
use  and  convenience ;  and  certainly  the  precautions  appear  very 
effectual  against  ravages  by  wind  or  rains.  Vegetation,  in 
plants  of  the  same  kind,  I  found  as  much  advanced  as  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Boston  near  the  close  of  June.  But  there 
were  several  species  of  herbs  and  exotics,  which  I  could  not 
recognise  by  name.  The  houses  I  passed  were  generally 
very  small,  and  they  occurred  frequently.  I  cannot  say  they 
had  a  comfortable  look.  Several  villages  presented  themselves, 
called '  Casals,'  from  an  Arabic  word  signifying  stations.  There 
was  a  due  proportion  of  churches  which  were  comparatively 
large,  but  of  an  uncouth  style  of  architecture.  The  peasantry 
looked  very  impoverished. 

At  length  I  reached  the  gardens  of  St  Antonio,  and  enjoyed 
a  delicious  walk  in  their  cool  and  embowering  shades.  These 
gardens  are  spacious  and  well  sheltered.  They  belong  to  a 
country  house  formerly  the  property  of  the  Grand  Masters,  and 
now  in  the  hands  of  the  colonial  government.  1  have  seldom 
visited  a  more  delightful  retreat.  The  number  of  orange  trees 
in  the  grounds  was  lately  estimated  at  three  thousand.  Be- 
sides these,  the  gardens  contain  citrons,  figs,  pomegranates  and 
other  valuable  tropical  fruits.  The  date  tree  I  observed ;  but 
though  it  reaches  a  considerable  size  in  Malta,  (some  specimens 
which  I  have  seen  being  ten  or  twelve  yards  in  height,)  it  is  not 
made  to  bear.  The  walks  and  plats  were  literally  strewn  with 
oranges  and  lemons.  They  seemed  left  to  perish  ;  although  in 
better  times  the  product  of  the  gardens  from  oranges  alone,  is 
said  to  have  yielded  the  reigning  Grand  Master  two  thousand 
Maltese  crowns  annually,  a  sum  about  equal  to  one  thousand 
dollars.  The  blood  orange  which  is  the  boast  of  the  island,  is 
a  most  delicious  fruit.  It  is  produced  by  grafting  the  slips  of 
the  common  orange  on  a  pomegranate  stock.  The  pulp  inclines 
to  the  colour  of  red,  but  not  so  much  in  mass  as  intermixed  in 
streaks  ;  and  hence  its  name.  It  is  not  only  more  luscious  but 
16 


122 


MALTA. 


less  husky  than  the  ordinary  varieties  of  orange,  and  in  size  it 
is  far  surpassing.  The  blood  orange  sells  in  Valetta  for  eight 
pence  a  dozen,  while  the  best  of  other  sorts  may  be  had  for 
four  pence. 

Attached  to  the  garden  is  an  aviary  in  which  are  a  pair  of  very 
large  ostriches.  They  were  turned  out  on  the  green  and  made 
to  exhibit  their  shape  and  paces  in  running.  They  moved  with 
great  swiftness,  although  they  are  twenty  years  old.  The 
ostrich  is  described  as  owing  his  security  in  his  native  wilds  to 
his  speed  in  flight.  When  attacked,  however,  it  is  capable  of 
making  a  rather  formidable  resistance.  The  keeper  of  the 
birds  assured  me  that  they  had  been  frequently  tried  in  this  way, 
and  they  repelled  assaults  with  much  spirit.  Their  method  is  to 
strike  forward,  like  the  horse,  with  their  legs,  and  from  what  I 
could  observe  of  their  power,  I  doubt  not  that  they  are  able  to 
deal  some  pretty  hard  knocks.  The  only  method  of  mastering 
them  at  such  times  is  to  seize  and  throttle  them  by  their  long 
necks.  These  ostriches  carried  themselves  very  majestically. 
They  are  about  nine  feet  tall  from  foot  to  crest. 

I  inquired  of  some  laborers  whom  I  met  in  the  gardens  the 
price  of  their  wages,  and  found  they  were  employed  for  three 
taris  a  day,  —  a  sum  but  a  trifle  exceeding  an  American  dime. 
Yet  with  this  pittance  they  have  to  support  themselves.  Two 
tarins  in  compensation  for  regular  daily  labor,  are,  elsewhere 
on  the  island,  considered  tolerably  good  pay.  I  find  I  have 
much  to  learn  on  the  subject  of  Maltese  economy.  That  it 
costs  a  native  very  little  to  live,  is  obvious,  but  still  that  little 
must  be  had ;  and  how  out  of  a  sum  of  the  value  of  a  Yankee 
sixpence,  he  can  contrive  to  feed  and  clothe  himself,  and  haply 
contribute  to  the  support  of  a  family,  is  a  problem  beyond  my 
present  means  of  solution. 

I  must  accordingly  suspend  this  speculation,  and  with  it  dis- 
miss the  remarks  of  the  day.  After  recreating  myself  in  the 
refreshing  and  fragrant  groves  of  St  Antonio,  and  gathering  abun- 
dance of  its  tempting  fruits,  I  reseated  myself  in  the  caleche  and 
was  driven  back  to  the  city,  —  thanks  to  the  sturdy  mule  and 


FOUNTAINS  —  HAWKERS.  1^3 

his  indefatigable  master,  —  with  undiminished  haste.     No  inci- 
dent occurred  particularly  worthy  of  note. 

Feb.  8. — I  have  already  mentioned  that  the  water  conveyed 
by  the  great  aqueduct  is  thrown  into  a  reservoir  in  St  George's 
Square.  In  front  of  the  palace  and  attached  to  it,  are  fountains 
which  continually  pour  forth  their  limpid  streams.  Sculptured 
effigies,  in  considerable  taste,  decorate  the  water-works,  and  from 
the  mouth  of  a  carved  lion's  head,  an  eagle's,  or  some  such 
object,  the  thirsty  may  drink,  and  fill  their  jars. 

These  fountains,  as  might  be  supposed,  are  much  frequented. 
Between  the  hours  of  eleven  and  twelve,  the  visits  are  most  nu- 
merous. Then  little  groups  may  be  seen  around  them  eating 
their  humble  meals  —  a  piece  of  bread,  a  slice  of  smoked  fish,  or 
a  small  rasher  with  salads  serving  their  wants  ;  —  and  the  fountains 
yield  them  copious  and  refreshing  draughts.  There  is  something 
primitive  and  picturesque  in  such  a  spectacle.  It  calls  up  the 
image  of  a  fountain  by  an  Eastern  caravansary  surrounded  by 
way-worn  pilgrims ;  and  between  the  looks,  and  in  several  respects 
the  garb,  of  the  poor  Maltese  and  their  distant  kinsmen  of  Arabia, 
a  resemblance  is  remarked  sufficient  to  warrant  the  comparison. 

There  is  a  tribe  of  water-carriers  who  go  about  town  crying 
'  Acqua,'  but  barbarously  pronounced  Arkoo.  They  are  chiefly 
useful  to  the  poorer  families  which  occupy  a  single  apartment 
or  two,  as  is  usual  in  many  of  the  great  buildings,  and  who  have 
not  the  privilege  of  private  cisterns.  A  large  stone  vessel  is 
daily  replenished  by  the  carriers  in  each  of  those  little  domicils 
at  an  expense  of  a  few  grains,  —  five  of  which  only  amount  to 
a  cent.  The  men  bear  the  water  about  in  small  casks.  They 
supply  them  at  the  several  city  fountains,  a  work  easily  done 
as  they  have  only  to  draw  out  a  spigot  and  place  the  aperture 
directly  under  a  descending  jet,  and  the  cask  in  a  few  moments 
is  filled.  Besides  the  perpetual  cry  of  acqua,  there  is  another 
scarcely  less  constant  of '  Castagne,  castagne.'  The  cTiesnuts  (so 
the  word  implies,)  are  sold  roasted.  They  are  unusually  large, 
being  thrice  the  size  of  our  native  ones.  They  are  said  to  be 
Spanish.  —  But  there  would  be  no  end  to  describing  the  various 


124  MALTA. 

vociferations  of  the  passing  crowds.  All  is  noise,  hubbub  and 
hurry. 

The  language  of  the  mass  of  the  populace  is  harsh  and  unmu- 
sical. It  is  a  corruption  of  the  Arabic,  and  possesses,  it  is  said, 
an  affinity  to  the  ancient  Punic.  There  is  thought  to  be  so 
strong  a  mixture  of  the  latter,  that  some  linguists  have  supposed 
that  the  rudiments  of  the  old  Phoenician  language  are  embodied 
in  it ;  —  that  from  the  materials  which  it  yields,  a  valuable  vo- 
cabulary might  be  formed  and  some  tolerable  notions  be  ac- 
quired, of  the  genius  and  structure  of  that  venerable  tongue. 

At  present,  the  Maltese  dialect  is  destitute  of  even  a  fixed 
alphabet.  In  writing  it,  it  is  necessary  to  resort  to  foreign  char- 
acters, and  every  one,  being  at  liberty  to  spell  as  he  pleases, 
endeavors  to  accommodate  the  orthography  to  the  current  pro- 
nunciation. There  must  be  much  diversity  occasioned  by 
so  fluctuating  a  standard,  and  the  different  impressions  made 
on  the  ear.  But  the  inconvenience  is  not  material,  as  the  lan- 
guage is  chiefly  used  by  the  illiterate  islanders,  and  the  distances 
in  Malta  are  too  short  to  make  it  necessary,  in  any  event,  to 
conduct  business  often  by  the  pen. 

I  have  met  with  translations  of  several  Maltese  sonnets  which, 
considered  as  specimens  of  poetic  taste,  are  not  without  interest. 
The  metrical  arrangement  adopted  in  the  original  was  attempt- 
ed to  be  preserved.  It  will  be  seen  that  the  second  and 
fourth  lines  only  terminate  in  consonance.  The  first  of  the 
fragments  might  serve  as  an  inscription  on  a  public  tank,  and 
appears  characteristic  of  a  people  of  Oriental  extraction. 

'  Ah  trouble  not  this  fountain's  source, 
Which  late  thy  thirst  appeas'd  — 
That  thirst  with  which  the  passing  hour 
Again  may  see  thee  seiz'd.' 

The  second  expresses  the  illusions  of  human  expectations. 

*  He  who  too  far  indulges  hope 
Will  find  how  soon  it  fails ;  — 
He  's  like  a  seaman  bottling  winds, 
fn  hopes  to  fjll  his  sails,' 


LANGUAGE.  125 

The  third  morceau  records  the  all-dominant  power  of  a  passion 
universal  in  human  bosoms.  There  is  no  language  in  which 
its  voice  is  not  heard. 

« Thou  who  by  sad  experience  know'st 
How  sure  Love's  arrows  fly, 
Say  what 's  the  smart?  For  well  I  ween 
What  thou  hast  felt,  feel  /.' 

But  the  native  patois  is  far  from  being  the  only  dialect  heard 
in  Malta.  There  is  scarce  a  shore  washed  by  the  Mediterranean 
which  is  not  represented  by  its  tribes  and  tongues.  Here 
are  natives  from  the  several  coasts  of  the  Levant,  —  Egyp- 
tians, Greeks,  Turks,  and  Tunisians,  —  besides  Barbary  Jews, 
Sicilians,  Venetians,  Genoese,  French,  Dutch  and  English 
whose  mingled  voices  compose  a  perfect  Babel.  Their  various 
costumes  together  with  the  gaudy  habiliments  of  the  military 
classes,  are  equally  curious  ;  and  a  stranger  might  at  first  sight 
suppose  himself  thrown  into  a  crowd  of  mimes  and  maskers. 

Mercantile  men,  and  others  of  intelligence  settled  in  Malta, 
speak  several  languages  with  fluency.  English,  Italian  and 
native  Maltese  are  indispensable,  and  I  have  been  struck  with 
the  facility  with  which  children  acquire  a  knowledge  of  those 
tongues.  They  seem  to  get  them  by  intuition,  at  least  with  as 
much  ease  as  boys,  in  common  with  us,  of  the  same  age  would 
learn  one.  At  the  house  of  a  friend  where  I  dined  a  day  or 
two  since,  an  interesting  little  girl  about  four  years  old  made  her 
appearance  at  the  time  of  the  dessert,  who  talked  with  her  father 
in  Italian,  her  mother  in  English  and  to  the  nurse  who  was  in  at- 
tendance, in  Maltese.  She  had  acquired  this  faculty  simply  by 
the  ear.  It  was  surprising  with  what  readiness  her  little  tongue 
slipped  from  one  language  to  another  as  conversation  required. 
Shop-keepers  have  much  the  same  dexterity ;  and  among  gen- 
tlemen, the  acquisitions  of  language  are  much  more  considerable. 
I  have  formed  an  acquaintance  with  one, —  a  merchant  who 
has  passed  some  years  in  Constantinople,  —  who  to  the  lan- 
guages already  named,  adds  a  knowledge  of  French,  Greek, 
Turco  and   pure  Arabic.     I  had  supposed  that  the  Russians 


126  MALTA. 

were  the  most  apt  linguists  among  modern  nations  ;  but  from 
what  I  have  hitherto  learned  and  observed  on  this  island,  1  am 
inclined  to  think  that  the  Maltese  may  fairly  dispute  the  palm 
with  them.  Their  familiarity  with  so  many  spoken  tongues 
may  be  partly  explained  by  the  conveniences  of  business  and 
social  intercourse,  but  doubtless  much  is  owing  to  certain  organic 
facilities  in  the  vocal  powers. 

The  resident  English  population  on  the  island,  aside  from  the 
military,  is  computed  at  seven  hundred.  I  have  already  been 
introduced  to  several  agreeable  families,  and  been  treated  with 
genuine  hospitality.  There  is  courtesy  without  parade,  and  the 
samples  exhibited,  present  a  pleasing  picture  of  the  state  of 
society  among  the  better  classes. 

Of  Jews,  —  those  outcast  children  of  the  '  father  of  the 
faithful,'  whose  condition  I  always  contemplate  with  interest,  — 
I  find  but  few  permanently  established  in  Malta.  They  are  not 
estimated  at  above  one  hundred  in  all.  In  general  they  are 
pretty  well  off,  and  it  is  singular  that  they  bear  no  larger  pro- 
portion to  the  mass  of  the  population.  They  have  no  synagogue, 
but  on  their  Sabbath  they  celebrate  in  a  private  house  the  rites 
of  worship  after  the  usages  of  their  forefathers. 

The  Greeks  of  Malta  form  a  much  more  considerable  body. 
Numbers  of  them  are  lineal  descendants  from  the  generous 
Rhodian  families,  who  followed  the  fortunes  of  the  brave  L'Isle 
Adam  and  his  unfortunate  companions  in  arms,  on  their  retreat 
10  Malta.  It  was  in  1523  that  the  knights  were  driven  from  the 
island  of  Rhodes,  a  possession  which  they  had  held  since  their 
expulsion  from  the  Holy  Land  ;  and  which  they  had  signalized 
hv  exploits  of  valor,  even  in  their  unsuccessful  resistance  to  the 
power  of  Solyman,  scarcely  less  memorable  than  their  subse- 
quent achievements  as  defenders  of  Malta.  In  return  for  the 
devoted  constancy  of  the  self-exiled  Rhodians  who  accompanied 
them,  a  free  toleration  was  allowed  of  their  rites  of  worship.  A 
church  was  built  in  which  divine  service  according  to  the  modes 
of  the  Greek  religion,  has  continued  to  be  solemnized.  In 
addition  to  this,  another  church  has  been  erected  for  the  accom- 


CHURCHES.  127 

modation  of  Greek  Catholics,  the  service  being  the  same  with 
that  of  the  Romish  ritual,  bat  on!y  performed  in  the  Greek  instead 
of  the  Latin  tongue. 

Contemplating  the  concourse  of  nations  represented  in  Malta, 
I  am  surprised  that  my  own  country  has  scarcely  a  native  citizen 
beside  myself  on  the  island.  The  little  missionary  family,  con- 
sisting but  of  two  adults,  is  the  only  case  of  exception.  Even 
the  consul  and  his  deputy  are  native  Maltese.  The  officers  and 
crew  of  the  North  Carolina  are  either  on  board,  or  at  the  Laza- 
retto. Our  commercial  ships  which  touch  here,  seldom  remain 
long  enough  to  take  pratique.  Their  business  is  transacted 
through  the  Parlatorio,  and  they  are  generally  off  long  before 
their  terms  of  quarantine  expire.  1  was  not  exactly  prepared 
for  this  state  of  things.  Looking  upon  my  country  as  she  may 
be  well  considered,  the  Carthage  of  this  modern  age,  —  especially 
in  reference  to  Great  Britain  the  parent  Tyre,  —  the  fact  struck 
me  at  first  as  singular.  1  feel  quite  isolated,  but,  thank  God, 
not  like  the  remnant  of  Knights  Hospitallers,  denationalised. 
And  if  a  depression  of  spirits  from  a  sense  of  solitariness  some- 
times steals  over  me,  I  am  cheered  by  the  remembrance  of  a 
country  and  home  in  the  Hesperides  beyond  the  Western  wave, 
and  in  the  hope  of  a  return  thither  at  no  distant  day,  am  content 
to  remain  awhile  longer  —  '  a  looker-on  in  Venice.' 

Feb.  9.  —  A  stranger  if  called  to  state  his  first  impressions 
of  the  religious  character  of  this  people,  might  accommodate  the 
language  of  an  apostle  and  say.  Ye  men  of  Malta,  I  perceive 
that  in  all  things  ye  are  very  superstitious.  ^^ 

Besides  shrines,  crucifixes,  and  other  such  objects  of  rever- 
ence in  the  city  and  environs,  there  is  in  Valetta  alone  a  score 
of  churches  with  open  portals  frequented  every  hour  of  the  day. 
First  comes  the  cathedral  of  St  John's  the  Metropolitan,  then 
the  churches  St  Paul's,  St  James',  Sta  Barbara  and  Sta  Catha- 
rine. The  Carmelites,  Franciscans,  Capuchins,  Dominicans 
and  Augustinians  have  their  several  chapels  and  oratories,  (and 
spacious  ones  they  are;)  and  if  last  not  least,  the  religious 
structure  of  Al  Jesu  commemorates  the  pious  munificence  of 


1 28  MALTA. 

the  ancient  order  of  the  Jesuits.  These  edifices  I  have  thus 
far  counted  up,  in  addition  to  the  Government  church,  —  the 
churches  of  the  Greek  Catholics  and  Schismatics,  and  several 
missionary  chapels  in  private  houses. 

The  Catholic  bells  are  busy  through  the  day.  They  com- 
mence ringing  at  four  in  the  morning,  and  do  not  stop  till  the 
evening  chime,  whose  melancholy  tones  perpetually  recall 
the  Spanish  Los  Animos.  If  we  add  to  these  sounds,  the 
striking  of  the  hours  and  the  quarters,  —  (and  as  though  this 
were  not  enough,  the  announcement  is  accompanied  from  some 
of  the  towers  with  a  flourish  of  several  notes  for  each  stroke,) 
it  may  be  said  almost  literally  that  the  bells  of  Malta  never  rest. 
Some  of  them  utter  a  tinkling,  others  a  hoarsely  graiing,  and  still 
others  a  deep  sonorous  sound  ;  but  all  are  emulous  to  be  heard, 
and  to  bear  their  part  in  the  tuneful  concert.  There  is  a  little 
too  much  of  such  music  to  be  altogether  entertaining.  But  at 
length  the  ear  becomes  accustomed  to  it,  and  the  bells  ring  on 
without  being  heeded. 

But  do  all  the  Catholics  walk  the  rounds  of  these  numerous 
churches  ?  Not  at  all ;  each  goes  to  his  own,  and  it  is  only  on 
festival  days  that  the  population  join  heart  in  hand  in  honor  of  a 
particular  saint,  and  then  crowd  to  the  same  shrine.  At  other 
times,  they  resort  at  a  convenient  hour  to  their  respective  places 
of  worship,  to  unite  in  the  celebration  of  mass  ;  but  I  find  that 
on  week  days  the  attendance  is  chiefly  made  up  of  females,  — 
in  other  words,  the  '  devout  women  not  a  few.'  The  most  scru- 
pulous  of  the  devotees  are  very  careful  about  their  matins. 
They  are  abroad  at  the  first  summons  which  might  be  called  a 
night-bell,  as  morning  does  not  break  till  after  its  peal  is  rung. 
But  even  at  so  early  an  hour,  the  numbers  who  muster  are  very 
considerable. 

Aside  from  the  duty  of  mass,  there  is  the  confessional  to  be 
attended  to.  In  the  larger  churches  there  are  two  or  three 
boxes  of  this  description,  and  I  seldom  enter  them  without 
seeing  one  or  more  whispering  their  secret  sins  in  the  ear  of  a 
priest      Then,  there  are  the  offices  for  the  dying  and  the  dead. 


CLERGY.  '  129 

If  a  priest  goes  to  administer  the  last  sacrament  to  a  departing 
soul,  he  moves  with  noise  and  state.  A  procession,  bearing 
'  taper  and  host  and  book,'  goes  with  him.  His  anointed  head 
is  canopied.  A  bell  rings  his  advent,  and  as  the  procession 
passes,  every  head  Is  uncovered  and  every  knee  bent. 

As  for  the  priests  themselves,  their  number  is  '  Legion,  for 
it  Is  many.'  I  meet  them  at  every  turn  ;  I  mean,  including  the 
friars,  —  black,  white  and  gray.  I  know  It  is  common  to  rail 
against  this  order  of  men  as  being  a  race  of  gourmands  ;  yet  it  is 
not  for  the  sake  of  joining  in  an  idle  cry,  but  of  testifying  to 
impressions  gathered  by  my  own  eyes  when  I  assert,  that  a 
better  conditioned  set  of  persons  1  never  beheld.  Their  fat 
sleek  visages  and  plump  well-fed  frames  betoken,  that  whatever 
becomes  of  others,  they  take  good  care  of  themselves.  I  have 
seen  them  of  all  ages,  from  fourscore  years  down  to  four ;  for 
even  children  are  dedicated  to  the  priesthood,  and  once  dedi- 
cated, they  wear  the  self-same  garb  in  shape  and  colour  as  do 
their  superiors  In  years. 

A  more  whimsical  dress  than  this  professional  costume  when 
put  upon  boys  and  striplings,  can  hardly  be  conceived.  It 
consists  of  a  large  cocked,  or  three-cornered  hat,  the  brim  of 
which  is  unusually  broad,  —  a  full  skirted  coat,  ornamented  with 
a  single  row  of  buttons,  and  made  rounding  from  the  waist 
downwards,  like  a  quaker's,  —  a  long,  old  fashioned  vest,  but- 
toned to  the  chin,  —  tight  small  clothes  and  black  hose,  silk  or 
worsted,  —  shoes  high  on  the  Instep  with  monstrous  buckles,  — 
a  black  leathern  stock  about  the  neck,  and  over  it  a  frill  of  white 
lawn  made  to  lap  close.  In  cold  or  wet  weather  a  black  cover- 
all, something  like  the  cloaks  of  the  old  puritan  clergy  of  New 
England,  is  added.  The  heads  of  these  clerical  sprigs  are 
partly  shaved  in  imitation  of  their  seniors. 

It  is  not  without  a  smile  that  such  figures  are  seen  brushing 
through  the  streets.  To  call  them  priestlings  would  be  hy  no 
means  a  sufficient  diminutive.  They  are  Tom  Thumbs  in 
ecclesiastical  livery,  and  can  scarcely  be  distinguished  sometimes 
as  they  move   along  under  their  brosd-spreading  equllaterals* 


130  MALTA. 

Their  appearance  is   certainly   a  burlesque   on  the   Catholic 
priesthood. 

There  are  several  grades,  however,  for  these  '  babes  and 
sucklings'  to  pass  through,  ere  they  are  formally  fraternized. 
At  sundry  periods  of  life,  —  as  for  instance  ten,  fifteen,  eighteen 
or  twcntyone  years  of  age, — they  are  interrogated  and  examined 
afresh  in  respect  to  their  ultimate  purpose,  and  if  dissatisfied 
with  the  choice  made  for  them  by  their  parents,  they  are  at 
liberty  on  coming  to  their  majority  to  withdraw  from  the  clerical 
ranks.  But  this  seldom  happens.  I  cannot  find  on  careful 
inquiry  that  they  are  taught  much ;  certainly,  very  litde  of  useful 
knowledge.  I  express  but  the  sober  sense  of  intelligent  lay 
Catholics  themselves,  when  I  say  that,  in  general,  the  priests, 
young  and  old,  are  scandalously  ignorant.  They  pick  up  a 
smattering  of  Latin,  and  are  taught  the  drill  of  church  forms  and 
ministrations.  A  little  of  scholastic  divinity  and  some  scraps  of 
ecclesiastical  history  are  then  ground  into  them ;  and  they  are 
turned  out  for  the  service  of  the  altar.  They  exhibit  a  vacuity 
of  countenance  quite  expressive  of  the  emptiness  of  their  minds ; 
and  withal,  that  bloating  and  fulness  of  cheek  already  noticed, 
which  denote  if  their  brains  be  attenuated,  something  else  is  well 
stuffed. 

I  speak  of  the  appearance  of  the  major  part,  at  least  seen  abroad. 
And  in  truth  it  is  enough  to  fill  one  with  indignation  to  behold 
these  priests  sauntering  in  the  city,  or  riding  their  mules  with  a 
careless  air  into  the  country,  often  with  a  pipe  or  cigar  in  their 
mouths,  and  faces  betokening  by  their  shine  the  good  cheer 
which  they  daily  feed  on,  —  while  so  many  miserable  fellow 
beings,  whose  poverty  is  ascribable  in  a  great  measure  to  those 
church  locusts  devouring  every  green  thing,  are  strewn  along  the 
streets  without  clothing,  food,  or  the  means  of  occupation.  Yet 
I  have  seen  many  priests  importuned  by  these  poor  creatures  with 
the  cry  of  carita  !  carita  !  and  I  do  not  remember  but  a  solitary 
instance  when  the  supplication  was  in  the  least  degree  heeded. 
Then  only  a  grain  or  two  were  dropped  into  the  tremulous  with- 
ered hand,  held  out  for  the  pittance.     In  fact,  like  the  priest 


POLICY  OF  RULERS.  131 

and  Levite  in  the  parable,  these  ministers  of  a  gospel  of  mercy 
turn  a  deaf  ear  to  the  cry,  and  a  blind  eye  to  the  miseries  of  the 
starving  wretches  around  them,  and  pass  by  on  the  other  side. 

The  disproportion  of  priests  to  the  general  mass  of  society 
here,  is  an  evil  not  likely  to  be  soon  checked  or  cured.  For  in 
the  dearth  of  other  profitable  employments,  every  family  of  the 
better  sort  in  which  are  several  children,  has  one  boy  at  least  set 
apart  for  the  church.  The  candidate  for  the  priesthood  has  only 
to  be  possessed  of  the  clear  annual  income  of  three  pounds  ster- 
ling. He  is  then  sure,  once  within  the  pale  of  the  church,  of 
drawing  at  least  eight  pence  a  day  from  a  public  fund  which,  as 
he  cannot  marry  by  the  canons  of  his  order,  is  quite  enough  in 
a  place  of  such  plenty  and  cheapness  as  Malta,  to  insure  him 
support.  This  allowance  is  exclusive  of  various  contingent  per- 
quisites, and  the  stipend  which  he  would  derive  as  a  fixed  cure. 

If  England  displayed  good  policy  in  a  worldly  point  of  view 
in  guaranteeing  the  privileges  of  the  Cadiolic  hierarchy  in  Malta, 
she  is  censurable  for  her  toleration  of  many  gross  abuses  thereby 
entailed,  which  she  had  the  power  of  correcting  on  coming  into 
possession  of  the  island.  The  French  pursued  a  different 
course  during  their  short  occupation  of  Malta.  They  paid  little 
respect  to  the  clergy,  seized  upon  a  large  pordon  of  their  reve- 
nues, broke  up  several  convents,  and  began  to  distribute  both 
employment  and  bread  to  the  poor.  A  new  aspect  was  given 
to  the  condition  of  society,  and  many  changes  which  were 
wrought  were  useful  and  humane.  They  dislodged  the  Augus- 
tinians  from  their  church  in  the  city,  and  confined  them  to  a 
monastery  at  Medina,  a  dozen  miles  off,  where  still  they  had 
room  and  to  spare ;  and  meanwhile  the  church  was  converted 
into  a  receptacle  for  foundlings.  The  nuns  of  Magdalena  were 
also  removed  to  the  convent  of  Sta  Catherina,  and  their  former 
establishment  was  appropriated  to  a  general  hospital.  I  could 
name  other  changes  equally  beneficial,  projected  if  not  accom- 
phshed  by  the  French,  which  have  come  to  my  knowledge. 
But  the  march  of  improvement  was  soon  arrested  by  the  siege ; 
the  sufferings  of  which,  endured  for  two  long  years,  being  attri- 


132  MALTA. 

buted  by  the  natives  to  the  French,  at  length  alienated  the  minds 
of  many  from  them.  Besides,  too  litde  attendonhad  been  paid 
to  conciliating  or  rather  confirming  the  attachments  of  the 
Maltese,  after  the  island  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  Republic. 
If  the  troops  of  the  latter  could  not  respect,  they  certainly  should 
not  have  insulted,  as  they  often  did,  the  Catholic  priesthood. 
The  sacrilege  committed  on  the  church  of  St  John,  in  dismant- 
ling it  of  many  of  its  venerable  and  precious  ornaments  and 
plundering  its  treasures,  could  not  be  forgiven.  The  priests 
mingling  with  the  populace  during  the  siege,  tried  to  foment  in 
their  bosoms  a  strong  and  very  general  dislike  of  their  new 
masters ;  and  at  length  there  was  a  party  ready  to  make  over  the 
island  to  the  British,  with  the  same  facility  as  was  shown  by  some 
of  the  knights  in  opening  its  gates  to  the  forces  of  the  Directory. 

The  English  in  treating  for  its  surrender,  availed  themselves  of 
the  superstitions  of  the  natives  and  the  known  ascendency  which 
their  priests  possessed  over  them.  They  stipulated  that  the 
Catholic  religion  should  be  fully  honored  and  recognised  ;  that 
all  its  rites  and  forms  should  be  scrupulously  respected ;  that  its 
churches  should  be  restored,  and  not  so  much  as  one  be  retained 
even  for  Episcopal  worship  ;  that  its  clergy  should  enjoy  all  their 
dignities  and  revenues,  and  that  all  ecclesiastical  nominations  and 
appointments  should  vest  entirely  in  the  Holy,  Roman,  Apostoli- 
cal See.  Thus  the  Maltese  under  the  conduct  of  their  ghostly 
advisers,  were  induced  to  submit  to  the  British  yoke,  but 
they  have  little  to  plume  themselves  with  respect  to  the  benefits 
of  the  exchange.  The  English  do  not  interfere  indeed  with  the 
religious  faith,  forms  and  usages  of  the  islanders,  but  they  look 
passively  on  while  the  church  is  grinding  them  to  powder.  A 
full  third  of  the  property  of  all  Malta  is  held  by  the  priests. 
Little  of  the  income  once  received  returns  to  circulate  among 
the  people.  It  is  a  current  which,  setting  in  one  direction, 
seldom  regurgitates.  Nay,  a  portion  of  it  is  wholly  lost  to  the 
island,  as  it  flows  into  the  great  pontifical  treasury  at  Rome. 

In  former  times,  there  was  a  considerable  disbursement  of 
jjie  moneys  collected  annually  by  the  church.    The  grand  mas- 


SPIRITUAL  COURTS .  133 

ter,  moreover,  living  with  almost  regal  munificence,  circulated 
large  sums  in  Malta.  The  knights  brought  their  personal 
revenues  with  them,  and  these  going  into  the  general  treasury  of 
the  Order,  were  expended  for  the  costly  maintenance  of  the 
several  Companies  into  wliich  they  were  divided.  The  nume- 
rous prizes  taken  from  the  infidels,  and  carried  into  the  ports  of 
Valetta,  added  to  the  public  stock  of  wealth  ;  and  money  was 
disseminated  in  a  thousand  channels  among  the  native  popula- 
tion. The  sources  of  that  prosperity  are  chiefly  dried  up.  It 
is  natural  to  con^pare  past  with  later  times,  and  the  contrast 
offers  small  matter  of  contentment  with  the  present  order  of 
things.  The  Maltese  sigh  for  the  recurrence  of  the  good  old 
days,  when  the  Knights  Hospitallers  were  their  patrons  and 
sovereigns.  They  now  bewail  the  destruction  of  their  Order. 
They  speak  of  them  with  mingled  gratitude  and  veneration, 
and  dislike  the  English  more  cordially,  in  consequence  of 
the  love  no  less  than  enthusiastic,  which  they  cherish  for  their 
former  masters,  the  chevaliers  of  St  John. 

The  priests  have  a  hold  on  the  people  through  the  medium 
of  their  ancient  superstitions,  but  they  enjoy  and  deserve  not 
much  of  their  love.  In  Malta  there  is  a  Bishop's  court,  in  which 
all  causes,  civil  or  criminal,  against  a  priest  can  alone  be  tried. 
It  would  be  reasonable  to  expect  that,  from  such  a  tribunal,  jus- 
tice would  not  always  be  dispensed  with  an  equal  hand.  The 
feelings  of  the  court  would  naturally  side  in  favour  of  an  eccle- 
siastic. The  credit  of  the  church  would  be  concerned  in  up- 
holding him.  His  condemnation  would  be  an  acknowledgment 
of  the  fallibility  and  culpableness  of  one  of  the  order,  and,  by 
authorizing  such  a  stigma,  might  justify  a  want  of  confidence  in 
the  whole.  Decisions  have  been  made  of  glaring  partiality,  so 
much  so,  that  few  men,  having  cause  of  complaint  against  a  priest, 
would  now  go  before  the  Bishop's  court.  If  peradventure  he 
should  gain  his  point,  the  priest  has  the  right  of  appealing  to 
Rome, —  a  right  seldom  or  never  waived,  —  and  the  expense  to 
the  other  party  of  following  up  the  suit  in  that  quarter,  together 
with  an  increased  distrust  of  the  kind  of  hearing  which  would  be 


1 34  MALTA. 

there  obtained,  occasions  the  matter  to  be  generally  abandoned. 
If  it  be  one  of  great  outrage,  it  is  sometimes  hushed  up  by  a 
left-handed  compromise. 

A  case  of  extreme  turpitude  has  just  occurred.  A  priest, 
having  tampered  in  vain  with  the  chastity  of  a  young  female  of 
fifteen,  and  desj)airing  of  obtaining  her  consent  to  his  vile  pur- 
poses, at  length  attempted  to  accomplish  his  object  by  brutal 
force.  Happily,  her  cries  alarmed  some  persons  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, who  succeeded  in  rescuing  her  from  her  ravisher.  A 
crowd  was  collected,  who  were  fired  with  indignation  at  the 
story  of  the  poor  girl's  wrongs,  and  it  was  with  great  difficulty 
that  the  villain  escaped  to  the  asylum  of  an  adjacent  convent. 
The  excitement  was  very  strong  for  some  hours  following,  and 
it  was  only  on  the  promise  that  he  should  be  certainly  delivered 
up  to  trial  at  another  time,  that  the  wrath  of  the  multitude  was 
partially  appeased.  The  opinion  however  is,  that  the  criminal 
will  be  privately  sent  off  the  island,  and  no  public  inquest  be 
had  of  the  flagitious  transaction. 

Affairs  of  this  sort,  with  the  difficulty  of  gaining  redress,  must 
weaken  very  sensibly  the  attachment  of  the  people  to  the  per- 
sons of  their  priests.  Still  they  cling  to  the  forms  of  religion 
whose  rites  they  administer,  with  unshaken  constancy,  and  be- 
lieve its  institutions  to  be  divine.  But  their  shyness  in  dealing 
with  the  clergy  in  matters  of  a  private  worldly  nature  is  very 
curious.  A  monk  or  a  priest  is  a  slippery  bargainer  ;  and  it  is 
not  often  that  they  are  trusted  where  a  common  voucher,  or  the 
word  of  honour  from  a  man  of  business,  would  pass  unques- 
tioned. I  should  not  leave  the  topic  without  adding,  that 
as  the  Bishop's  court  is  that  which  alone  can  take  cognizance  of 
causes  instituted  against  a  priest,  so  there  is  another  court,  under 
the  government  jurisdiction,  wherein  suits  brought  by  a  priest 
against  a  layman,  must  be  tried.  It  may  fairly  be  presumed, 
that  justice  would  there  be  dispensed  according  to  the  rules  of 
strict  honesty ;  but  the  cases  are  few  which  come  up  for  its  ad- 
judication at  all.  Whereas,  the  ecclesiastical  court  holds  to  its 
prerogative  of  deciding  all  actions  or  prosecutions  levied  against 


PAPAL  INFLUENCE.  135 

a  c?encaZ  party ;  and  the  expediency  of  shielding  the  hierarchy 
from  scandal,  with  other  motives  too  obvious  to  be  specified, 
must  ever  materially  bias  the  course  of  arbitration. 

It  may  be  said  that  the  ascendency  of  the  church  must  have 
been  as  unqualified  under  the  old  regime,  as  the  present.  But  the 
fact  was  otherwise.  The  knights  interfered  between  the  pi-iest- 
hood  and  the  people,  and  were  accustomed  to  protect  the  interests 
of  the  latter.  They  looked  with  jealousy  on  every  attempt 
at  encroachment  by  the  court  of  Rome,  through  the  agency  of 
any  of  its  officials.  Theirs  was  the  sovereignty  of  the  island  ; 
and  they  pertinaciously  resisted  all  endeavours  by  the  Pope,  or 
his  representatives  the  bishops,  to  share  the  jurisdiction  of  Malta. 
Anciently,  the  supreme  council  of  the  order  of  St  John's  decid- 
ed upon  everything,  even  relating  to  articles  of  faith  and  religion. 
And  when  at  length  an  inquisitor  was  sent  among  them  by 
Gregory  XIII.,  they  withstood  his  ordinances,  and  all  his  preten- 
sions to  domestic  interference.  The  Grand  Master  remained 
chief;  and  neither  pontiff,  bishop,  nor  inquisitor-general  was  per- 
mitted to  hold  independent  or  even  secondary  jurisdiction.  The 
people  were  accordingly  saved  from  many  arbitrary  impositions 
and  exactions.  Their  hard  earnings  were  not  all  drained  to 
pamper  the  luxury  of  a  swarming,  slothful  clergy ;  and  the 
moneys  liberally  circulated  among  them  by  the  chevaliers,  with 
other  privileges  and  immunities  which  they  enjoyed  under  their 
protection,  made  them  bless  the  sway  of  such  generous  patrons 
and  defenders. 

The  English  have  managed  very  differently,  and  made  com- 
mon cause  with  the  priests.  It  is  Pontius  Pilate  united  with 
Herod,  and  both  arrayed  against  the  children  of  this  unfortunate 
isle  ;  though  Herod  still  takes  precedence  in  matters  of  eccle- 
siastical prerogative.  The  English,  having  found  their  account 
in  pursuing  a  similar  policy  in  Lower  Canada,  have  adopted  it 
without  restriction  here ;  and  while  Popery  is  trampled  upon, 
spurned  and  denounced  in  Ireland,  —  in  Malta  and  the  North 
American  colony,  it  is  upheld  with  utmost  deference.  The 
Roman  pontiff  may  well  felicitate  himself  in  having  the  nominal 


1 36  MALTA. 

sovereignly  of  Malta  vested  in  the  hands  of  Protestant  John 
Bull.  A  better  ally,  or  rather  a  tamer  auxiliary  and  helpmeet, 
he  could  noi  desire.  Not  only  does  the  Pope  appoint  without 
question  to  all  the  richer  benefices,  —  such  as  bishoprics,  arch- 
deaconries, prebendaries  and  priories,  —  he  exercises  his  dis- 
credon  when  vacancies  occur,  in  respect  to  the  term  of  their 
duration,  and  sweeps  into  his  own  coffers  the  revenues  accru- 
ing during  such  intervals.  England  is  meanwhile  content  with 
parcelling  to  herself  the  old  possessions  of  the  Maltese  knights, 
without  any  offset  to  the  people  at  large;  and  as  for  the 
Protestant  faith,  she  lets  that  take  care  of  itself.  I  have  men- 
tioned the  Grand  Master's  stable  as  the  only  place  of  Episcopal 
worship  on  the  island  ;  and  lest  it  should  be  too  much  fre- 
quented, seats  are  let  in  it  at  the  annual  charge  of  five  guineas. 
The  Marquis  of  Hastings,  late  Governor  General  of  Malta,  was 
so  ashamed  of  this  state  of  things,  that  he  projected  and  laid  the 
foundation  of  a  noble  government  church.  He  had  proceeded 
so  far  as  to  expend  £2000  on  the  work,  when  the  Foreign 
Office  in  London,  understanding  his  intentions,  sent  down  an 
order  to  have  the  enterprise  forthwith  discontinued.  Of  course 
nothing  more  could  be  done,  and  things  remain  just  as  the 
Marquis  was  obliged  to  leave  them.  The  reason  assigned  for 
such  interference  and  opposition  by  the  government  at  home,  was 
its  pecuniary  inability  to  defray  the  further  disbursements  ne- 
cessary to  the  undertaking.  Yet  the  same  government  can 
afford  to  pay  the  present  governor  of  Malta,  General  Ponsonby, 
£4000  annually,  with  an  allowance  of  perquisites  worth  half  as 
much  more  ;  and  to  its  admiral  in  this  sea,  now  quartered  at  I^a 
Valetta,  the  yearly  revenue  of  £5000.  The  last  sum  is 
nearly  equal  to  the  salary  of  the  President  of  the  United  States, 
and  six  times  greater  than  that  of  the  American  naval  comman- 
der on  this  station. 

I  have  spoken  of  the  drain  of  moneys  which  goes  annually 
into  the  Papal  treasury,  and  is  consequently  lost  to  Malta ;  but 
I  have  indicated  merely  one  of  the  oudets,  namely,  the  requisi- 
tion of  arrearages  from  vacant  benefices.    A  second  is  the  quasi 


SECTS.  1 37 

impost  of  bonuses  charged  on  all  incumbents  appointed  to  the 
richer  livings  in  Malta.  A  third  is  made  up  of  the  fees  exacted 
for  dispensations  of  marriage,  which  happen  within  the  prohib- 
ited degrees  of  relationship.  Such  dispensations  can  only  be 
obtained  by  the  wealthy ;  but  where  there  is  money  enough, 
they  may  be  had  to  sanction  alliances  though  contracted  within 
the  bounds  which  other  laws  than  those  of  Rome  assign  to  cases 
of  incest.  Next  come  the  emoluments  derived  from  suits  car- 
ried up  by  appeal  to  the  Pontifical  court.  They  are  by  no 
means  confined  to  cases  in  litigation  between  individuals,  but 
involve  disputes  between  religious  houses,  such  as  churches  or 
monastic  institutions.  Without  mentioning  other  sources  of 
gain,  1  will  confine  myself  to  illustrating  the  operation  of  the 
last. 

It  is  a  fact  worth  premising,  that  though  the  Romish  church 
boasts  to  be  one,  in  opposition  to  the  multitude  of  Protestant 
sects,  it  is  in  truth  made  up  of  rival  and  contending  denomina- 
tions like  the  parfies  enrolled  under  the  banners  of  the  Refor- 
mation. Those  denominations  are  bound  together,  indeed,  by 
a  general  submission  to  the  Roman  See  and  their  acknowledg- 
ment that  the  Pope  is  infallible ;  but  the  sects  of  Protestant- 
ism are  likewise  united  by  their  common  recognition  of  the 
sole  authority  of  the  Scriptures,  and  their  allegiance  to  that 
great  principle  of  their  order,  the  right  of  private  judgment. 
This  I  mention  principally  for  the  sake  of  showing  that  there  is 
no  such  thing  as  coercing  human  opinions.  The  whole  power 
of  the  church  of  Rome,  even  acting  on  its  favorite  maxim  that 
ignorance  is  the  mother  of  devotion,  cannot  make  its  subjects 
think,  believe,  and  move  as  One.  It  is  an  empty  vaunt,  which 
she  puts  forth  in  maintaining  the  unity  of  her  members,  in  oppo- 
sition to  the  parti-coloured  ranks  of  Protestantism.  Diversities 
of  sentiment,  jealousies  and  strifes  prevail  perhaps  equally  in 
both.  Each  has  a  generic  name,  with  specific  difierences.  If 
the  former  are  all  Catholics,  so  the  latter  are  all  Protestants. 

Contests  have  accordingly  run  high  between  the  churches  of 
Malta.  It  is  not  long  since  the  Cathedral  of  St  John  was  at 
18 


1 38  MALTA. 

issue  with  St  Paul's,  and  the  points  of  disagreement  could  only 
be  settled  by  reference,  as  usual,  to  the  Pontifical  tribunal. 
When  they  were  adjusted,  St  Paul's, — I  mean  the  church 
of  that  name  in  La  Valetta, — took  umbrage  at  some  of  the 
pretensions  of  St  Paul's  at  Medina.  The  second,  situated  in 
the  old  Metropolis  of  the  island,  and  on  or  near  the  supposed 
site  of  Publius'  house,  claimed  supremacy.  Its  monks  con- 
tended for  precedence  in  processions,  and  for  the  privilege 
of  wearing  a  finer  cross  than  those  of  St  Paul's  at  La  Va- 
letta. These  seem  to  have  been  the  most  material  points  in 
contest ;  if  others  there  were,  they  have  not  yet  come  to  my 
knowledge.  Such  grave  matters  naturally  required  a  more 
dispassionate  consideration  than  could  be  had  at  Malta.  They 
were  submitted  to  his  Holiness  at  Rome.  This  was  about  the 
year  1820.  The  cause  was  pending  for  the  three  following 
years,  and  cost  the  parties  the  round  sum  of  35,000  Maltese 
crowns.  It  was  at  last  settled  that  St  Paul's  of  Medina  should 
take  precedence  of  its  rival  at  La  Valetta  on  all  state  occasions, 
but  that  the  priests  of  the  latter  should  be  distinguished  by  a 
better  kind  of  crucifixes,  or  a  richer  badge  of  some  sort.  A 
branch  of  the  mother  church  was  extended  to  the  modern  cap- 
ital ;  and  a  corps  of  the  prebends  of  the  Old  city  is  now  quietly 
installed  in  the  New. 

But  I  am  weary  of  dwelling  on  these  topics.  I  may  refer  to 
some  of  them  hereafter  as  materials  may  accumulate  ;  and  in 
forming  my  opinions  as  well  as  in  noting  my  observations,  I  shall 
endeavour,  if  nothing  be  extenuated,  '  yet  to  set  down  nought  in 
malice.' 

Feb.  10.  —  By  one  of  those  chances  which  sometimes  turn 
up  unexpectedly  in  favour  of  a  tourist,  I  find  myself  in  Malta  at 
the  era  of  the  great  religious  celebration  in  honour  of  St  Paul. 
The  present  day  is  set  apart  in  the  calendar  as  the  anniver- 
sary of  the  apostle's  shipwreck  ;  and  an  opportunity  has  thus 
been  afforded  me  of  witnessing  the  most  striking  ecclesiastical 
pageant  which  popery  has  here  instituted.  The  event  com- 
memorated,  was  suitable  for  solemn  observance  of  some  sort ;  but 


ST  PAUL'S  FESTIVAL.  139 

whether  the  ceremonies  which  were  practised  were  the  most 
appropriate  in  reference  to  moral  uses,  is  a  matter  of  question. 

The  festival  commenced  by  a  prelude  last  evening,  when  the 
church  of  St  Paul  was  splendidly  illuminated ;  but  the  grand 
display  was  reserved  for  today.  After  mass  celebrated  this  af- 
ternoon with  unusual  pomp,  the  preparations  for  a  great  solemn 
procession  took  effect.  All  the  monkish  fraternities  in  Valetta 
joined  in  the  ceremony,  and  the  whole  machinery  of  the  hierar- 
chy was  put  in  requisition  to  make  it  stately  and  impressive. 
The  citizens  were  not  behind  in  their  zeal  to  testify  respect  for 
the  solemnity.  The  front  of  the  lofty  houses  along  the  principal 
streets  through  which  the  procession  was  to  pass,  were  hung 
with  drapery  of  gorgeous  hues,  trailing  to  the  pavement.  Strada 
Paolo  with  its  proud  old  structures,  of  an  architecture  grand 
though  fantastic,  looked  magnificently  with  these  decorations. 
Windows  and  balconies  were  filled  with  spectators,  and  a  crowd 
of  devotees  occupied  the  square  and  hung  upon  the  avenues 
connecting  with  the  church  whence  the  procession  was  to  issue. 

First  choosing  a  station  among  the  last,  I  was  placed  to  see 
with  advantage  the  order  of  the  opening  ceremonial.  The 
wide-spread  portals  of  the  church,  St  Paolo,  disclosed  the  inte- 
rior lighted  with  innumerable  tapers:  and  they  were  needed 
notwithstanding  the  hour,  for  clouds  of  incense  filled  the  spa- 
cious nave  and  aisles.  The  various  monastic  orders,  al]  duly 
marshalled,  displayed,  as  they  successively  appeared,  their  robes 
of  pomp  and  state,  except  the  Franciscans  and  Capuchins  whose 
vows  of  poverty  permit  no  change  of  apparel  on  occasions  the 
most  memorable.  These  walked  bare  headed  with  sandalled 
feet,  clothed  with  coarse  brown  cloaks,  or  rather  frocks  with 
cowls,  a  girdle  of  rope  about  their  loins,  no  linen  to  their  collars, 
and  their  rosaries  and  crucifixes  of  cheap  and  homely  make. 
They  served  as  foils  to  the  fathers  who  followed  in  sumptuous 
array  and  with  lordly  bearing,  and  their  downcast  looks  and 
humble  mein  lost  nothing  of  interest  in  contrast  with  the  osten- 
tatious air  and  demeanor  of  their  successors.  Each  society 
was  distinguished  by  a  banner  splendidly  decorated,  exhibiting 


140  MALTA. 

the  likeness  of  its  founder  or  a  painting  of  its  patron  saint,  and 
it  was  curious  to  observe  that  even  the  poor  disciples  of  St 
Francis  vied  in  the  showiness  of  that  emblem,  with  the  richest 
and  most  aspiring  of  their  fellow  orders.  Crosses,  dazzlingly 
gilt,  were  borne  aloft  in  the  procession.  Censers,  smoking 
with  incense,  were  carried  in  the  respective  companies  and 
waved  from  time  to  time  in  the  air ;  and  those  who  were  not 
employed  in  bearing  banner,  cross  or  censer,  were  furnished 
with  tapers,  which  shone  but  dimly  indeed  in  the  broad  light  of 
day. 

When  the  van  of  the  procession,  extending  up  the  street  St 
Paolo,  had  reached  the  summit,  it  paused  to  give  time  for  the 
main  appendage  of  the  pageant  to  be  produced.  This,  it  was 
easy  to  perceive  by  the  eager  looks  of  the  crowd  around,  was 
expected  with  intense  solicitude.  It  was  no  less  than  the  image 
of  the  apostle  Paul,  large  as  life,  and  fine  as  carving,  and  gilding, 
and  frippery  could  make  it,  which  in  no  long  time  was  lifted 
from  its  recess  and  brought  forth  to  view.  It  stood  on  a  broad 
platform,  borne  on  the  brawny  shoulders  of  a  number  of  men 
who  bowed  under  the  heavy  burden.  The  apostle  was  paraded 
in  full  pontificals  and  in  the  attitude  of  preaching.  His  rai- 
ment was  widely  different  from  that  which  he  probably  brought 
ashore  with  him  when  cast  by  the  waves  upon  yon  coast  —  a 
sign,  perhaps,  that  the  barbarous  people  would  still  show  him  no 
little  kindness.  It  resembled  a  tissue  of  pure  gold.  His  head 
was  covered  with  a  sort  of  cardinal's  hat,  I  mean  in  shape,  but 
it  was  gilt  all  over  like  his  drapery.  His  features  —  but  I  will 
not  describe  them.  They  shocked  all  my  notions  of  the  looks 
of  the  poor  tent-maker  of  Tarsus. 

No  sooner  was  the  apparition  seen  than  the  multitude  knelt 
with  reverence  and  awe.  Every  head  was  uncovered.  Eveiy 
eye  was  fixed  on  the  effigy.  Their  lips  moved  in  devotion,  and 
not  a  doubt  could  there  be,  that  they  prayed  to  that  statue  as 
their  idol  and  their  god,  —  prayed  to  it  as  truly,  and  as  fervently, 
as  ever  a  votary  in  the  old  pagan  superstitions  worshipped  an 
image  of  Jove  or  Apollo.     The  bearers  waited  while  the  crowd 


PROCESSION.  141 

paid  their  homage.  They  then  descended  the  great  steps  of  the 
church,  and  the  procession  set  forth  in  body.  The  chief  bishop, 
mitred  and  on  foot,  followed  the  image,  and  a  large  company  of 
priests  and  officials  brought  up  the  rear. 

The  procession  moved  with  solemn  chaunt.  The  air  was 
redolent  with  the  fuming  incense.  Bells  '  tolled  out  their  mighty 
peal ; '  and  with  the  symbols  already  named,  —  the  waving  ban- 
ners, the  gleaming  crosses,  the  flowing  vestments,  and  that  gor- 
geous shape  of  the  apostle, 

'  High  in  the  midst,  exalted  as  a  god,' 

nothing  was  wanting  to  grace  the  passing  cortege.  Considered 
as  a  spectacle,  the  effect  was  certainly  imposing. 

To  behold  it  with  greater  advantage,!  mounted,  next,  to  a  bal- 
cony in  a  friend's  house  which  commanded  a  full  view  of  the 
principal  street,  the  appearance  of  which  was  scarcely  less  striking 
than  the  moving  show^  which  perambulated  through  it.  Crowds 
were  seen  bending  as  the  figure  of  the  saint  slowly  advanced, 
and  even  the  groups  in  the  windows  and  verandahs,  dropped 
on  their  knees  or  bowed  in  obeisance  whilst  the  object  was  pass- 
ing. The  procession  having  moved  through  Strada  Reale,  de- 
filed into  a  range  of  parallel  streets  and  returning  to  the  church, 
St  Paolo,  delivered  back  in  safety  its  precious  charge  to  the 
shrine  whence  it  had  been  taken.  There  it  will  remain  till 
another  anniversary  shall  call  it  forth  to  excite,  in  like  manner, 
the  popular  stare,  and  wonder,  and  veneration. 

Returning  home  with  a  mind  musing  on  the  scenes  just 
witnessed,  I  asked  myself.  What  conclusions  I  was  war- 
ranted to  draw  from  them  in  relation  to  the  influence  of  Chris- 
tianity upon  the  natives  of  this  island  ?  Do  they  furnish  evidence 
that  the  religious  condition  of  Malta  in  the  nineteenth  century,  is 
an  improvement  on  that  of  Melita  in  the  first  ?  Has  any  essen- 
tial change  been  wrought  in  it  ?  If  any,  is  it  for  the  better  ? 
To  resolve  the  queries,  I  considered  in  the  first  place  that 
Christianity  teaches  that  there  is  one  God,  i.  e.  one  sole 
Object  entitled  to  religious  worship  ;  that  it  forbids  all  manner  of 


142  MALTA. 

idolatry,  and  goes  hand  in  hand  with  the  law  of  Moses  in  pro- 
nouncing the  idols  of  the  nations  to  be  but  vanity.  In  the  next 
place,  T  could  not  mistake  the  evidence  of  my  senses,  that.a  graven 
image  was  this  day  worshipped  by  thousands  in  Malta.  It  was 
evidence  just  as  conclusive  as  would  show  that  the  prayers  put 
up  in  a  protestant  congregation  are  there  addressed  to  the  One 
Infinite  Spirit.  Christianity  then,  I  reasoned,  has  failed  in  its 
first  great  end,  the  extirpation  of  idolatrous  rites  and  worship 
from  the  Maltese  population. 

I  next  looked  back  upon  the  state  of  things  when  Paul  landed 
upon  the  island.  The  natives  were  then  called  barbarians,  but 
so  were  all  other  people  denominated  by  the  Romans,  at 
least  with  the  exception  of  the  Greeks.  The  term  simply  de- 
noted foreigners  who  spoke  in  an  unknown  tongue,  and  it  implied 
nothing  of  the  nature  of  their  condition,  morally  or  polhically 
viewed.  That  the  inhabitants  of  Melita  were  by  no  means  sav- 
ages is  abundantly  clear.  Religion,  or  some  other  principle,  had 
softened  their  hearts  and  humanized  their  manners.  They  kin- 
dled a  fire  upon  the  beach  for  the  comfort  of  Paul  and  his  com- 
panions, Publius,  the  chief  of  the  island,  received  and  treated 
them  courteously.  And  when  they  departed  the  people  laded 
them  with  such  things  as  were  necessary,  and  distinguished  them 
with  many  honours.  ^^ 

Nor  was  this  all.  It  appears  that  the  ancient  Maltese  were 
devout  observers  of  the  hand  of  Providence.  When  Paul  was 
bitten  by  the  viper,  they  reasoned  very  judiciously  and  seri- 
ously among  themselves,  — '  No  doubt  this  man  is  a  murderer, 
whom,  though  he  hath  escaped  the  sea,  yet  vengeance  suffereth 
not  to  live.'  They  did  not  become,  however,  the  helping  exe- 
cutioners of  their  sentence,  like  the  officials  of  many  a  Holy 
Office  since.  No  act  of  unkindness  is  recorded  of  them ; 
and  they  waited  patiently  '  a  great  while,'  expecting  the  issue. 
But  when  the  venom  of  the  reptile  was  found  to  be  ahogether 
harmless,  and  their  guest  remained  unhurt,  they  changed 
their  minds,  and  cried  out  that  he  was  a  god.  Now  this  a 
Catholic  would  denounce  as  idolatry.     But  wherein  does  his 


PERVERSION  OF  CHRISTIANITi^  143 

superstition  differ  from  such  idolatry  ?  Are  not  the  descend- 
ants of  the  old  Maltese  of  similar  minds  with  their  fathers  ?  Was 
not  Paul,  or  what  is  w^orse,  the  mere  image,  —  the  effigy  of  Paul, 
—  venerated  as  a  god  this  very  day?  Is  there  any  difference  in 
the  circumstances  ?  Or  if  there  be,  is  it  not  in  favor  of  the  men  of 
the  olden  generation  ?  If  the  celebration  today  illustrated  the 
piety  of  the  present  race,  did  not  the  conduct  of  their  ancestors 
betoken  quite  as  much  piety,  blended  with  something  more  of 
sound  sober  sense  ? 

Alas,  for  the   superstitions  of  this  morally  benighted  isle ! 
When  the  apostle  first  set  foot  on  yonder   rugged  strand  —  he 
whose  commission,  wherever  he  went,  was  to  warn  men  from  the 
evil  of  lying  vanities  and  to  turn  them  to  the  living  God, —  little 
did  he  think  that  he,  the   creature,  should  be  worshipped  in 
future  ages  by  the  natives  of  that  very  shore  in  place  of  the  Su- 
preme Creator.     When  the  same  apostle  with  Barnabas  was  at 
Lystra,  and  the  people,  struck  with  a  miracle   which  he  had 
wrought  and  the  power  of  his  preaching,  would  have  offered 
sacrifices  to  him  under  the  title  of  Mercury,  crying  out  in  the 
speech  of  Lycaonia,  —  The  gods  have  come  down  to  us  in  the 
likeness  of  men,  —  he  rent  his  mantle  and  rushing  with  his  com- 
panion  amid   the  throng,  exclaimed,  '  Sirs   why  do  ye  these 
things  ?  We  also  are  men  of  like  passions  with  you,  and  preach 
that  ye   should   turn  to  the  living  God  who  made  heaven  and 
earth,  the  sea  and  all  things  which  are  therein.'     Could  that 
herald  of  the  religion  from  the  Father  of  Lights  rise  from  the  dead 
and  walk  through   Malta,  would  not  his  soul  be  stirred  with 
holy   indignation  in   seeing   the  city,   as  was  Lystra  of  yore, 
wholly  given  to  idolatry, —  nay,  and  seeing  himself  canonized 
so  conspicuously  as  an  object  of  popular  adoration  ?  Or  could 
pain  touch  the  spirits  of  the  sons  of  light,  would  not  his  bosom 
heave  with  sorrow  on  looking  down  on  the  superstitions  and  de- 
lusions of  this  misguided  race, —  on  contemplating   the  faded 
purity,  the  disfigurements  and  perversions  of  the  doctrines  he 
here  proclaimed,  —  on  witnessing,  in  fine,  the  blindness  of  men's 


144  MALTA 

hearts,  the  darkness  of  thek  souls  ?  —  But  the  theme  is  too 
sad  to  be  pursued. 

Do  Thou,  Immortal  King,  arise  and  reveal  Thyself 

as  Thou  wast  declared  by  Moses  and  the  prophets,  Jesus  and 
the  Apostles.  Let  the  principles  of  that  faith  which  they  taught 
and  sealed  through  sufferings  and  blood,  again  break  forth  in 
their  native  simplicity.  And  hasten  the  hour,  when  here  and 
universally  Thou  shalt  be  acknowledged  as  the  Being  of  Be- 
ings —  clothed  in  Thine  own  incommunicable  prerogatives  of 
supremacy  and  glory ! 


CHAPTER   VI 


MALTA. 

Prosperity  of  Malta  under  the  Order  of  St  John.  —  Privileges  of  the  People. 

—  Testimony  of  the  Chevalier  Ue  Boisgelin.  —  Changes  wrought  on  the 
Face  of  the  Island.  —  Balance  of  Trade,  how  adjusted.  —  Soil  whence 
obtained.  —  Retrospect  of  Rhodes.  —  Military  Erections." — General  Fore- 
cast of  the  Order  5  its  Valour.  —  Climate,  and  Fruits  of  the  Season.  —  In- 
ventive Shifts  of  the  Inhabitants.  —  Mai,-quis   of  Hastings.  —  Greek  Pirate. 

—  English  Yacht.  —  Commerce  of  the  Port.  —  Visit  on  Board  the  Revenge. 

—  Treatment  of  Convicts. — Danger  in  Former  Times  from  Captives.  —  A 
Peep  Within  Doors  5  Doings  Without.  —  A  Maltese  Barber.  —  Beggars. — 
An  Anecdote. 

La  Valetta;  Feh.  12.  —  The  populousness  of  Malta  is 
truly  wonderful.  In  1798,  the  island  alone  numbered  ninety 
thousand  inhabitants,  and  Goza  twentyfour  thousand.  The 
combined  amount  is  about  the  same  now,  as  the  prevailing 
estimates  give  from  one  hundred  and  ten,  to  one  hundred  and 
fifteen  thousand  for  the  entire  population.  Malta  and  Goza,  with 
the  petty  isle  of  Cumino  between,  have  a  superfices  of  only  one 
hundred  and  seventy  square  miles.  Assuming  then  the  popu- 
lation of  1798  as  the  sum  at  present,  there  are  no  less  than  six 
hundred  and  seventy  inhabitants  for  every  square  mile,  congre- 
gated on  these  rocks.  This  number  is  prodigious,  and  the  ratio 
is  far  greater  than  is  anywhere  else  ascertained  to  exist.  To 
set  the  matter  in  a  clearer  light,  I  have  placed  in  the  Notes  a  table 
showing  the  proportions  of  inhabitants  to  equal  areas  in  the 
various  countries  of  Europe,  at  the  time  when  the  official 
estimate  of  Malta,  given  above,  was  made.  It  will  appear  by 
19 


146  MALTA. 

reference,  that  the  population  of  this  little  territory  is  nearly 
quintuple  that  of  Holland  on  similar  surfaces,  and  that  Holland 
is  more  than  one  third  in  advance  of  England  proper.  ^^ 

Such  an  aggregate  of  human  beings  on  so  limited  a  spot,  is 
evidence  of  the  great  and  diffusive  prosperity  enjoyed  under  the 
government  of  the  Knights  of  St  John.  When  L'Isle  Adam  and 
his  few  brave  follovi^ers  landed  here  from  Rhodes,  there  were 
but  twelve  thousand  inhabitants  in  all  Malta ;  and  they  were 
reduced  to  ten  thousand  at  the  raising  of  the  siege  during  the 
grand  mastership  of  La  Valette.  Seventy  years  afterwards,  the 
population  amountedto  fifty  thousand,  notwithstanding  the  ravages 
of  a  dreadful  plague  towards  the  close  of  the  sixteenth  century ; 
and  since  that  period,  despite  of  occasional  pestilences  and 
almost  incessant  wars,  it  reached  the  extraordinary  maximum, 
as  previously  observed,  of  nearly  six  score  thousand. 

The  income  of  the  knights,  together  with  the  ample  revenues 
of  their  sovereign,  being  liberally  expended  among  the  Maltese, 
diffused  plenty  and  comfort  through  the  island.  The  Order  was 
enriched  by  the  private  possessions  which  its  members  succes- 
sively brought  to  it ;  by  annuities  and  largesses  from  potentates 
whose  commerce  or  whose  territories  were  protected  by  its 
valour ;  by  the  prizes  and  ransoms  obtained  from  the  infidels;  and 
by  divers  other  resources  domestic  and  foreign.  Property  it  at 
length  possessed  in  almost  every  country  of  Europe,  distri- 
buted into  numerous  commanderies,  grand  priories  and  bailiwics. 
It  held  a  long  muster-roll  of  lands,  tenements  and  funds,  the 
growth  of  successive  investments  throughout  Catholic  Chris- 
tendom. Its  establishments  were  counted  by  scores  and  fifties  ; 
and  benefices  too  various  to  designate  swelled  the  annual  re- 
ceipts of  this  renowned  and  flourishing  Order.  With  such 
means  and  with  dispositions  commensurate  with  their  means,  the 
sources  of  prosperity,  like  fountains  in  a  desert,  broke  forth  on 
the  barren  isle  ;  and  soon  the  wilderness  was  glad  for  them, 
and  the  solitary  place  rejoiced  and  blossomed  like  the  rose. 

The  government  of  the  Chevaliers,  represented  by  the  grand 
master,  if  not  strictly  paternal  was  sufficiently  beneficent ;  the 


SWAY  OF  THE  KNIGHTS.  147 

best  proof  of  which  is  that  the  Maltese  never  murmured  under 
their  jurisdiction.  The  knights  had  no  rival  interests  in  common 
with  the  people  to  awaken  jealousies.  The  latter  were  never 
directly  taxed ;  they  were  constantly  receiving  favours  from  the 
Order,  and  they  naturally  repaid  their  benefactors  with  praises 
and  blessings.  No  disputes  could  possibly  arise  among  them, 
since  the  very  judges  of  the  Maltese,  as  likewise  their  municipal 
officers,  were  allowed  to  be  chosen  from  among  themselves.  In 
short,  all  civil  employments,  even  those  which  related  to  the 
finances,  were  filled  by  the  natives.  The  sovereign  alone  had 
the  right  to  send  his  representative  to  the  tribunals  and  the  Town 
Hall ;  and  here  again,  to  bar  the  chances  of  corruption,  the  knight 
who  was  deputed  to  the  courts  of  justice  in  behalf  of  the  grand 
master,  was  not  only  changed  once  in  three  years,  but  his  place 
was  successively  filled  by  one  of  a  different  nation. 

To  explain  the  countervailing  tendency  of  such  a  precaution 
It  should  be  observed,  that  the  knights  of  St  John  were  divided 
into  eight  classes  named  after  the  different  countries  of  their 
birth.  These  were  Provence,  Auvergne,  France,  Italy,  Ger- 
many, Castille,  Arragon,  and  anciently  England ;  but  when 
Harry  VIII,  abolished  the  Order  in  his  dominions,  the  English 
class  took  the  name  of  Anglo-Bavarian.  The  popular  designa- 
tion of  the  whole  was  that  of  the  Eight  Languages. 

The  knights  though  bound  in  strictest  allegiance  to  the  general 
of  their  Order,  and  united  in  common  cause  against  their  sworn 
foes  the  infidels,  were  not  strangers  to  mutual  intrigues  and 
jealousies.  If  they  respected  the  office,  they  were  not  always 
attached  to  the  person  of  the  grand  master ;  and  the  knights  of 
different  Languages,  aside  from  the  fortunate  one  whence  he  was 
chosen,  would  not  be  ambitious  of  consulting  his  private  will, 
should  he  wish  to  exert  any  sinister  bias  on  the  decisions  of  a 
tribunal  where  a  deputy  might  preside.  For  the  most  part, 
however,  the  grand  masters  were  too  highminded  to  entertain 
such  narrow  desires,  and  the  Maltese  were  fearless  of  corrupt 
designs  and  interferences  from  that  quarter. 


148  MALTA. 

In  addition  to  these  things,  there  were  numerous  institutions 
expressly  directed  to  the  encouragement  of  industry  among  the 
Maltese,  or  the  relief  of  sickness,  infirmity  and  misfortune.  The 
pursuits  of  agriculture,  of  trade  and  commerce,  the  arts  of  mani- 
pulation, the  building  and  refitment  of  the  galleys  and  galliots  of 
the  Order,  preparation  of  armaments  and  stores,  —  these  and 
numberless  other  calls  for  labour  furnished  constant  employment, 
and  money  was  ever  at  hand  duly  to  remunerate  it.  The  hum  of 
industry  resounded  through  the  island  ;  and  for  a  series  of  gene- 
rations the  Maltese  enjoyed  an  almost  uninterrupted  tide  of 
prosperity.  I  have  already  referred  to  the  great  increase  of 
their  population,  unprecedented  within  limits  so  straitened,  as 
proof  of  such  prosperity  ;  but  the  fact  of  their  uniform  quietude 
under  the  sway  of  the  order  of  St  John,  may  be  cited  as  evidence 
equally  conclusive.  The  Chevalier  de  Boisgelin,  who  wrote  at 
the  close  of  the  last  century,  has  asserted  that  up  to  the  disastrous 
events  of  1798,  the  Maltese  people  never  manifested  the  least 
signs  of  turbulence  or  disafl^ection  against  the  government.  They 
took  no  advantage  of  the  divisions  which  sometimes  prevailed 
between  the  rival  commanderies ;  and  when  the  island  was  at 
length  betrayed  to  the  French,  the  guilt  of  the  treachery  laid  not 
with  the  lower  classes  but  in  the  higher  ranks.  Though  the 
chevalier  hesitates  to  affix  the  stigma,  yet  the  fact  is  incontestable, 
that  a  few  recreant  knights,  led  on  by  a  master  spirit,  —  {quan- 
tum mutatus  ah  illo  Hectore,  —  alas,  how  changed  from  the 
character  of  old  !) —  these  were  the  men  who  basely  surrendered 
their  noble  possession.  Malta  fell  indeed  ;  but  it  was  not  the 
trophy  of  the  valour,  but  the  gold  of  the  French  Republic. 

I  have  read  with  feelings  of  lively  sensibility  the  memoirs  of 
the  Order,  which  have  been  transmitted  by  the  amiable  historian 
whose  authority  I  have  just  had  occasion  to  quote.  And  though 
I  am  by  no  means  a  blind  admirer  of  the  establishment  with 
which  he  was  enrolled,  and  though  his  quartos  display  too  much 
the  air  of  studied  and  affectionate  panegyric,  yet  his  statements 
in  the  main  are  supported  by  collateral  testimony.    Many  of  his 


TRANSFORMATION  OF  THE  ISLAND.  149 

recitals  are  given  with  touching  pathos,  and  the  inference  none 
can  dispute,  that  the  abolition  of  the  government  of  the  Knights 
Hospitallers  was  an  event  most  deplorable  to  the  Maltese  them- 
selves. De  Boisgelin  has  followed  too  servilely,  perhaps,  Vertot 
and  others,  whose  glowing  accounts  particularly  of  the  famous 
siege  by  die  Turks  should  be  received  with  some  grains  of 
allowance  ;  but  his  work  on  the  whole  is  a  repository  of  valuable 
historical  remains,  which  like  the  fragments  of  an  ancient  golden 
bowl  inscribed  with  feats  of  lofty  heroism,  he  piously  gathered 
up,  and  has  handed  down  for  our  respect  and  veneration.  I 
anticipate  this  tribute  to  the  merits  of  an  author,  —  himself  one 
of  the  latest  relics  of  a  fallen  but  illustrious  Order,  —  as  I  may 
have  occasion  hereafter  to  refer  to  his  memoirs,  especially  when 
I  come  to  speak  of  the  more  riiemorable  achievements  of  these 
renowned  '  Paladins.' 

If  there  be  meaning  in  the  proverb,  that  a  man  is  a  benefactor 
to  his  species  who  makes  two  blades  of  grass  to  grow  where  but 
one  was  produced  before,  then  what  praise  is  due  to  the  creative 
industry  of  those  who  have  clothed  the  rock  of  Malta  with  un- 
equalled fertility  and  abundance,  Everytliing  in  its  visible 
wonders  has  been  wrought  out  since  the  island  became  the 
property  of  the  knights.  For  although  its  shores  had  been 
trod  successively  by  Tyrians,  Carthaginians,  Romans  and 
Saracens,  though  they  had  planted  their  colonies  and  scattered 
some  seeds  of  art  and  civilization,  the  traces  of  their  occupancy 
had  nearly  all  passed  away,  save  what  was  left  of  the  last  in  the 
character  of  the  population;  and  at  this  day  the  vestiges  of  their 
ancient  footsteps  are  faded  and  gone.  A  new  era  commenced 
when  the  ensign  of  St  John  was  lifted  over  Malta.  The  rock 
became  'instinct  with  life.'  A  handful  of  people  that  had 
gained  but  a  scanty  and  precarious  subsistence,  swelled  and  aug- 
mented to  tens  of  thousands  in  the  enjoyment  of  exuberant  plenty. 
As  we  look  back  on  those  times,  prodigies,  like  those  in  Horeb, 
seem  to  rise  in  review  before  us.  Water,  indeed,  was  not  miracu- 
lously brought  forth  for  the  use  of  the  people.  It  gushed  already 
from  a  hundred  springs  in  the  valleys.     But  the  language  of  the 


150  MALTA. 

sacred  historian  can  be  safely  applied,  — '  they  sucked  honey 
out  of  the  rock  and  oil  from  the  flinty  rock.'  ^''  The  productions 
in  wheat,  barley,  cotton,  esculent  roots,  the  various  fruits  of 
fields,  gardens  and  orchards,  became  immense  ;  and  with  the 
exception  of  the  first,  they  were  not  only  ample  for  home  con- 
sumption, but  formed  articles  of  considerable  exportation  abroad. 
The  enterprise  of  the  people  accomplished  other  wonders.  It 
was  not  long  before  a  regular  and  magnificent  city,  surround- 
ed with  noble  suburbs,  was  built  on  a  rocky  promontory. 
Sumptuous  edifices  arose  both  as  places  of  worship,  and  as  hos- 
pitals for  the  reception  of  the  poor  and  sick  of  every  country. 
Neat  villages  adorned  the  island  ;  roads  were  opened  in  every 
direction  ;  while  great  numbers  of  country  houses,  from  the 
superb  villa  down  to  the  peasant's  rude  but  snug  abode,  erected 
in  different  parts,  announced  the  flourishing  state  of  Malta. 

The  article  of  cotton  strikingly  shows  the  value  of  the  pro- 
ductive industry  of  the  Maltese.  I  find  on  inquiry,  that  the 
quantity  of  cotton  spun  in  the  island  which  was  usually  exported 
every  year,  amounted  in  value  to  half  a  million  of  Spanish  dol- 
lars ;  and  this  added  to  the  manufactured  goods  and  the  home 
consumption  made  up  a  sum  of  not  less  than  six  hundred  thou- 
sand dollars.  The  other  exports  consisted  of  barilla,  oranges, 
lemons,  pomegranates,  hquid  honey,  figs,  seeds  of  various  kinds, — 
such  as  brocoli,  melon,  cumin,  and  anniseed,  —  besides  conserves 
of  apricots  and  other  fruits,  orange-flower  water,  (a  great  deli- 
cacy,) and  preparations  of  similar  sorts.  They  also  made  and 
sent  abroad  ornamental  articles  of  gold  and  silver  fillagree,  — 
a  beautiful  manufacture  in  which  they  excel  at  this  day.  In 
return,  they  imported  large  quantities  of  grain  ;  also  wood,  cloth, 
wine  and  some  other  commodities.  Still  the  balance  of  trade 
was  against  them,  owing  to  the  great  natural  deficiency  of  bread 
stuffs,  especially  when  the  population  became  excessive ;  and  to 
meet  that  balance,  there  was  no  other  resource,  (but  happily  it  was 
a  ready  one,)  than  the  specie  disbursements  of  the  treasury  of 
the  Order,  together  with  the  moneys  expended  by  the  knights- 
companions.     Without  such  aid,  the  prosperity  of  Malta,  (as  the 


DISBURSEMENTS  —  PROPERTY.  151 

event  has  shown,)  and  the  great  abundance  prevailing  throughout 
the  island,  could  not  for  a  moment  be  sustained.  The  Order,  as 
such,  expended  annually  four  millions  of  French  livres.  It 
further  appears  that  the  expenses  of  the  treasury  amounted  to 
three  millions,  and  that  one  million  was  spent  by  the  companions 
of  different  Languages,  residing  in  the  Convent.  Here  then  was 
cash,  a  sum  in  solid  gold  and  silver  exceeding  a  million  and  a 
half  of  Federal  dollars  which  was  yearly  distributed  under  the 
government  of  the  knights.  The  whole  of  this,  —  on  a  careful 
net  estimate,  and  in  view  of  all  circumstances,  —  the  whole  of 
this,  and  much  more  has  been  lost  to  Malta  during  the  last 
thirty  years.  ^^ 

I  do  not  deny  that  the  British  government  expends  large  sums 
annually  in  return  for  the  occupation  of  the  island.  Malta, 
everybody  perhaps  knows,  is  a  heavy  bill  of  cost  to  England.  But 
then  its  payments  are  chiefly  made  to  its  own  citizens,  and  little 
of  its  disbursements  comes  into  the  hands  of  this  people.  I  find 
that  even  British  goods,  which  to  the  exclusion  of  other  com- 
peting articles  are  thrown  into  the  markets  of  Malta,  are  sold 
higher,  (though  something  less  than  at  Gibraltar,)  than  the  same 
things  are  vended  in  the  shops  of  the  United  States.  Besides, 
England  holds  a  third  of  the  property,  I  mean  of  what  is  called  the 
real  estate,  of  all  Malta  ;  and  this,  together  with  the  possessions 
of  her  good  friends  the  priests,  amounting  to  another  third,  cuts 
off  a  pretty  large  slice  from  the  loaf.  The  remainder,  were  it 
enough  for  the  wants  of  the  native  lay  Maltese,  is  nevertheless 
engrossed  chiefly  by  a  few  privileged  orders,  —  for  even  Malta 
is  cursed  by  a  titled  aristocracy.  Then,  as  for  the  people,  aye, 
the  people,  they  must  take  care  of  themselves.  How  they 
manage  it,  I  know  not ;  and  I  doubt  whether  even  his  majesty 
of  England,  or  his  holiness  of  Rome  is  one  whit  the  wiser. 

Having  just  spoken  of  the  titled  orders  of  Malta,  I  should 
add  that  the  number  of  nobles  is  eighteen  or  twenty,  bearing 
respectively  the  styles  of  marquises,  counts  and  barons.  The 
richest  of  them  has  an  income  computed  at  two  thousand 
pounds  sterling,  an  ample  revenue  for  Malta.     It  is  raised  from 


1 52  MALTA. 

lands  in  the  country  and  houses  in  town.  The  majority  have 
much  smaller  rentals,  some  of  them  not  more  than  ten  or  twelve 
hundred  Sicilian  dollars.  Still  this  is  by  no  means  inconsiderable 
in  such  a  place.  There  are  a  few  resident  chevaliers  who  draw 
their  income  from  Sicily,  of  which  country  they  or  their  ances- 
tors were  natives ;  but  from  some  cause  they  have  taken  up  their 
abode  here.  A  republican  of  the  new  world  is  disposed  to  laugh 
at  such  provincial  nobility,  as  indeed  at  all,  though  it  be  of  im- 
perial creation  —  but  how  less  than  the  least  to  any  sober  eye, 
must  appear  the  star  and  coronet  of  a  Maltese  counthood  ! 

It  is  but  fair  to  mention^  that  the  orders  of  noblesse  were  chief- 
ly created  under  the  government  of  the  Grand  Masters.  It  was  a 
system  that  worked  well  enough  in  their  times  ;  but  at  the  pres- 
ent day  it  combines  with  the  oppressions  of  the  Church  and 
colonial  government,  to  crush  the  people  more  heavily  in  the 
dust. 

I  have  some  melancholy  recitals  to  offer  of  the  miseries  of 
the  last.  They  are  deferred  to  another  date,  should  not  my 
pen  continue  to  recoil  from  the  record,  as  my  heart  has  again 
and  again  sickened  at  the  spectacle.  I  cannot  take  a  turn  in 
the  streets,  nor  look  from  my  windows,  without  witnessing  such 
wretchedness  as  makes  my  very  soul  to  ache.  En  attendant, 
I  prefer  to  pursue  my  retrospect,  and  to  look  back  on  the  bright 
and  sunny  days  which  once  smiled  on  Malta. 

The  transformation  of  the  interior  of  the  island  from  a  rock 
to  a  fruitful  garden,  was  made  when  human  industry  had  a  suf- 
ficient object,  because  the  assurance  of  an  adequate  recompense 
for  its  toils.  But  the  solidity  of  many  of  the  precautionary 
works  of  former  husbandmen, — of  the  walls,  mounds  and 
basis  of  the  soils,  —  insured  them  a  lengthened  duration.  They 
remain,  and  will  remain,  when  children's  children  shall  have 
slept  with  their  fathers. 

From  inquiries  made  since  my  arrival  in  Malta,  and  from 
some  personal  observations,  I  have  reason  to  doubt  the  opinion 
prevalent  elsewhere,  that  the  soil  of  the  island  has,  in  whole  or 
in  part,  been  brought  from  abroad.     It  has  been  asserted  that 


SOIL.  153 

shiploads  have  been  deported  hither  from  Sicily.  The  story  is 
here  denied.  There  was  soil  enough,  or  the  materials  for  its 
formation,  in  Malta.  They  had  only  to  be  variously  disposed, 
compounded  and  applied.  The  soft  and  porous  nature  of  the 
rock  found  below  the  surface,  easily  admits  the  roots  of  trees 
to  insinuate  when  they  have  once  vegetated  on  the  superincum- 
bent earth  5  and  under  the  forcing  influences  of  a  fervid  sky, 
with  plenty  of  water  at  hand  from  numerous  native  springs  to 
irrigate  the  plants  and  herbs,  a  thin  but  genial  soil  is  found 
abundantly  adequate  for  the  purposes  of  cultivation.  It  proves 
on  trial  to  yield  double,  and  of  several  products  even  triple  crops 
annually. 

The  process  employed  in  the  formation  and  arrangement  of 
artificial  grounds  is  this  ;  —  the  Maltese  begin  by  levelling  the 
rock,  which,  however,  is  allowed  to  incline  a  little,  that  all  super- 
abundant water  may  be  drained  off.  They  then  heap  together 
stones,  broken  into  pieces  of  an  irregular  form,  which  they  place 
about  a  foot  deep,  and  cover  with  a  bed  of  the  same  stones 
nearly  reduced  to  powder.  This  may  be  called  Macadamizing ; 
but  the  Maltese  farmer  has  another  object  in  view  than  that  of 
roadmaking.  He  proceeds  to  place  on  the  stratum  already  de- 
scribed a  layer  of  earth,  brought  either  from  other  parts  of  the 
island  or  taken  out  of  the  clefts  of  the  neighbouring  rocks ;  next 
a  bed  of  compost,  and  afterwards  a  second  bed  of  earth.  The 
preparation  is  then  completed.  These  plateaus  not  only  cover 
the  originally  barren  plains  of  Malta,  but  are  bolstered  up  by 
walls,  shaped  into  every  possible  angle,  against  all  the  declivities 
of  the  hills.  Such  has  been  the  perseverance  of  the  proprietors 
of  these  grounds,  that  they  have  made  them  equally  productive 
as  the  strongest  natural  lands. 

So  much  for  the  inventive  wonders  of  patient  husbandry. 
But  in  another  point  of  view  the  face  of  Malta  has  equally 
changed  under  the  operation  of  its  late  masters.  When  the 
knights  received  the  island  in  fee  from  Charles  V.  it  was  almost 
totally  defenceless.  The  solo  fortification  which  it  boasted, 
20 


154 


MALTA. 


namely,  St  Angelo,  was  mounted  only  by  one  cannon,  two  fal- 
conets, and  some  three  or  four  iron  mortars.  Medina,  the  cap- 
ital of  the  island,  was  a  wretched  burgh,  or  rather  burrow, 
hardly  exceeding  half  a  mile  in  circumference,  its  houses  mostly 
uninhabited,  and  the  miserable  walls  which  surrounded  it  were 
open  thirty  paces  in  breadth.  As  for  the  natives  generally,  they 
were  in  constant  alarms  from  the  frequent  descents  of  corsairs, 
who  without  the  smallest  sentiment  of  compassion  carried  off  all 
the  unfortunate  islanders  who  happened  to  fall  into  their  hands. 
This  was  the  account  given  by  the  commissioners  who  were 
sent  to  explore  and  report  on  the  condition  of  Malta,  when  its 
offer  was  made  to  the  knights  by  Charles.  It  was  a  sorry  gift, 
deficient  in  one  of  the  two  requisites  claimed  in  ancient  times, 
'  earth  and  water. '  Water  and  rock  was  all  it  offered  ;  but 
its  noble  harbours  made  some  amends  in  the  eyes  of  its  gallant 
recipients.  They  were  strangers  to  fear,  trusted  for  defence  to 
God  and  their  own  valour,  and  accepted  the  sovereignty  of  the 
island  as  lords  paramount.  ^^ 

Yet  if  their  hearts  had  not  been  strongly  nerved,  —  were  they 
susceptible  of  the  ordinary  weaknesses  of  humanity,  —  with  what 
gloom  of  soul  must  they  have  contemplated  the  prospect  before 
them,  and  looked  back  on  the  proud  heritage  so  lately  wrested 
from  their  hands.  With  what  pain  must  they  have  thought  of 
Rhodes,  that  beautiful  Rhodes,  the  joy  and  boast  of  their  Order 
through  two  centuries  of  glory,  —  Rhodes,  whose  lofty  bulwarks, 
—  turres  et  alta  mmnia,  —  had  oft  rolled  back  the  tide  of  Otto- 
man invasion.  And  how  must  their  companions  in  exile,  the 
natives  of  that  fair  isle,  have  wept  as  they  remembered  their 
pleasant  homes,  embosomed  in  citron  groves,  and  placed  amid 
shading  palms,  and  by  limpid  fountains  and  brooks,  —  leaving, 
as  they  did, '  dulcia  hmina  atque  amabilem  larem.'  ^^  It  was 
an  hour  of  bitterness  undoubtedly  to  some,  but  no  unmanly  tears 
bedewed  their  cheeks.  They  girded  themselves  to  the  work 
before  them,  and  resolved  in  their  hearts  that  the  glory  of  their 
latter  home  should  surpass  the  fame,  if  not  the  beauty,  of  the 
former. 


MILITARY  ERECTIONS.  155 

Every  point  of  the  coast  where  a  landing  could  be  effected 
by  an  enemy,  was  in  time  secured  by  competent  defences.  I 
have  counted  from  a  map  the  names  of  no  less  than  fortyeight 
military  erections  in  different  stations  along  the  shores  of  the 
island,  under  the  respective  designations  of  Redoubts,  Entrench- 
ments, Castles,  Forts  and  Batteries.  The  number  by  no  means 
includes  all ;  nor  does  it  take  in  the  defensive  works  constructed 
within  the  line  of  coast,  some  of  which  are  of  great  strength. 
All  these  are  exclusive  of  the  towers  of  observation,  and  the 
intercommunicating  breastworks  along  the  face  of  the  shore. 
Besides  which,  near  the  centre  of  the  island  which  is  crossed  by 
a  chain  of  hills,  a  cordon  of  intrenchments  was  thrown  up  along 
the  top  of  the  entire  range.  It  consists  of  a  solid  wall,  five  feet 
thick,  with  suitable  embrasures  for  artillery,  behind  which  the 
troops  were  to  fall  back,  if  by  any  possible  means  (through 
treachery  or  by  surprise),  the  disembarkation  of  an  invader 
should  be  accomplished.  The  arrangements  next  were,  if  no 
hopes  remained  of  stopping  the-progress  of  an  enemy,  that  the 
forces  of  the  island  should  draw  off  or  spike  their  cannon,  and 
retire  into  the  Cotoner,  an  impregnable  fortress  situated  just  op- 
posite to  La  Valetta.  It  was  computed  that  with  twentyfour 
thousand  men,  all  those  points  could  be  covered,  and  a  disem- 
barkation be  utterly  prevented  ;  and  that  with  half  that  number, 
Valetta  alone  could  stand  out  against  the  most  formidable  as- 
saults. 

On  a  former  page  I  have  adverted  to  a  very  strange  species 
of  ordnance  cut  out  of  the  solid  rock  in  various  parts  along  the 
coast,  and  intended  to  serve  as  mortars.  They  are  called  Fou- 
gaces,  and  are  indeed  extraordinary  contrivances.  The  perfo- 
rations are  large  and  deep,  and  their  reported  effects  almost 
startle  belief.  They  are  described  by  Brydone,  and  I  confess 
I  read  his  account  with  a  good  deal  of  scepticism.  However, 
the  statements  given  of  them  here  are  the  same,  and  the  man- 
ner of  employing  them  I  have  understood  to  be  as  follows : 

A  barrel  of  gunpowder  is  placed  at  the  bottom  of  the  cham- 
ber, and  a  board  put  over  the  barrel  so  as  to  cover  the  whole  of 


156  MALTA. 

the  cavity.  A  great  quantity  of  stones  are  spread  over  this 
board  reaching  to  the  top  of  the  fougace,  and  the  powder  be- 
ing ignited  by  a  match  properly  prepared,  the  stones  are  thrown 
to  the  distance  of  several  hundred  fathoms.  Such  a  shower  of 
hurtling  missiles  has  the  eifect  not  only  of  destroying  lives,  but 
of  breaking  and  sinking  large  barges.  The  impossibility  of  di- 
recting them  renders  their  effect  less  certain ;  but  the  mouths 
of  the  mortars  being  usually  turned  to  the  weakest  part  of  the 
coast,  they  are  capable  of  injuring  an  enemy  most  essentially. 
And  should  they  miss  their  aim  on  one  trial,  they  would  inspire 
great  terror  from  an  apprehension  that  a  second  attempt  would 
be  more  successful. 

The  forecast  of  the  Order  naturally  anticipated  the  exigencies 
of  a  siege,  and  spacious  storehouses  were  constructed  for  grain 
and  other  provisions.  The  former  was  preserved  in  very  large 
pits  hollowed  in  the  rock,  with  beds  of  wood  and  straw  fitted 
to  the  bottom  on  which  the  corn  was  spread.  When  the  gra- 
naries were  filled,  they  were  closed  with  large  stones  hermeti- 
cally sealed  with  a  composition  of  pozzolana.  It  is  said  that 
w^heat  kept  in  this  manner  might  be  preserved  good  for  a  hun- 
dred years  ;  and  I  have  heard  of  a  pit  which  was  discovered 
after  being  forgotten  for  a  great  length  of  time,  the  grain  of 
which  near  the  surface  had  alone  suffered  from  damp,  and  the 
rest  proved  in  excellent  condition.  The  English  still  make  use 
of  the  pits.  Stores  are  constantly  kept  in  them  for  two  years' 
consumption ;  and  they  are  capable,  if  need  be,  to  hold  a  suffi- 
ciency for  five. 

But  under  the  Order,  granaries  were  not  confined  to  Malta. 
As  the  island  was  not  found  to  yield  at  the  utmost  of  wheat  more 
than  enough  for  a  third  of  the  year,  large  purchases  were  made 
abroad.  Sicily  was  bound  by  treaty  to  furnish  annually  a  cer- 
tain supply  of  corn  free  of  duties.  It  was  usual  to  store  great 
quantities  of  this  to  meet  demands  as  they  might  arise ;  and  for 
thai  purpose  the  Order  built  magazines  solely  for  their  own  use 
at  Palermo,  Augusta  and  Girgenti,  besides  a  granary  still  larger 
at  Marseilles.    A  storehouse  of  not  less  importance  was  erected 


X  VALOUR  OF  THE  ORDER.  1 57 

at  Riposto,  in  Sicily,  for  preserving  ice  and  snow,  articles  not 
merely  of  luxury  but  of  prime  necessity  in  the  sultry  months, 
particularly  during  the  blowing  of  the  Sirocco. 

Such  were  some  of  the  precautions  for  security  and  subsist- 
ence which  took  place  under  the  vigilant  and  energetic  admin- 
istration of  the  Maltese  order.  The  island,  from  its  naked  and 
defenceless  state,  with  only  the  shadow  of  a  castle  for  its  protec- 
tion, rose  and  expanded  as  it  were  into  a  vast  fortress  boasting 
invincibility.  It  was  a  mighty  torpedo,  answering  on  the  grandest 
scale  to  some  of  the  conceptions  of  our  own  Fulton,  —  with  the 
difference  indeed  that,  unlike  his  terrible  marine  contrivances, 
it  could  not  move.  The  Ottoman  felt  once  its  touch,  and  never 
tried  it  more. 

The  policy  of  the  knights  was  not  simply  defensive  ;  it  was 
essentially  warlike  and  aggressive.  The  Moslem  power  was 
the  sworn  object  of  their  hate  and  hostility.  Their  naval  arma- 
ments went  forth  to  meet  the  foe  ;  and  while  they  chastised  the 
Barbary  States,  overawed  Egypt,  scoured  the  coasts  of  Candia, 
Cyprus  and  the  Levant,  they  cruised  to  the  jaws  of  the  Darda- 
nelles, and  bearded  the  Turkish  lion  in  his  den.  The  series  of 
wars  which  from  the  first  they  waged  against  the  Mahometans, 
is  a  brilliant  succession  of  military  exploits.  Whether  in  giving 
way  to  an  overwhelming  force  they  retreated  from  Rhodes, 
covered  with  the  glory  of  having  made  a  defence,  itself  a  pro- 
digy ;  whether  in  braving  at  Malta  the  fury  and  valour  of  the 
armies  of  Solyman,  they,  then  and  there,  fixed  the  boundary  of 
the  Ottoman  career ;  we  see  them  displaying  on  all  occasions 
that  lofty  courage,  that  skill  and  perseverance,  which  transform 
a  handful  of  men  into  a  most  formidable  host. 

I  confess  it  is  at  times  with  a  kindling  of  feeling  approaching 
to  enthusiasm,  that  I  find  my  mind  revolving  on  the  deeds  of 
valour  performed  by  these  heroic  spirits  ;  when  I  contemplate 
their  unshrinking  intrepidity,  their  splendid  chivalry  and  sublime 
self-devotion.  Proud  they  were,  but  it  was  a  pride  which 
claimed  preeminence  in  the  post  of  danger.    Theirs  was  a  moral 


158  MALTA. 

courage  which,  if  nourished  in  part  by  fanaticism,  yet  had  its 
root  in  the  faith  which  is  divine.  It  sustained  them  in  the  dark- 
est hours,  and  stood  unshaken  in  peril  and  in  storm.  Their 
succours  were  generously  lent  to  their  brethren  of  the  Christian 
nations.  Their  squadrons  were  ever  ready  to  be  united  with 
others  in  opposing  the  common  foes  of  humanity,  civilization 
and  religion.  The  banners  of  St  John  shone  conspicuous  in 
the  front  of  battle,  during  every  war  betwixt  the  Christian 
princes  and  the  infidels.  —  And  it  was  with  no  despicable  ene- 
mies with  whom  they  plied  the  incessant  strife.  Venice  often 
knew  the  value  of  their  aid.  It  was  given  at  the  onslaught 
of  Lepanto.  Though  a  little  before  the  navy  of  Malta  had 
been  shattered  and  wasted  by  tempests,  with  its  gallant  rem- 
nant the  knights  hastened  to  the  conflict.  On  that  glorious  day 
their  galleys,  conformably  to  the  right  of  precedence,  were  sta- 
tioned in  the  post  of  honour,  and  stood  opposed  to  more  than 
double  their  force,  though  directed  by  the  fierce  Ucchiali,  one 
of  the  boldest  of  corsairs.  Victory  perched  upon  their  stand- 
ards ;  and  the  pale  Crescent  grew  paler  that  day  beneath  the 
radiance  of  the  star  of  the  Order.  ^^ 

Surveying  the  rise  and  glories  of  Malta  under  the  sceptre  of 
so  illustrious  a  race  we  may  apply  to  it  in  relation  to  its  w^ell 
earned  fame,  what  a  Roman  historian  said  of  the  greatness  of 
the  seat  of  universal  empire,  — '  nee  minor  ab  exordio  nee  ma- 
jor incrementis  ulla. '  But  as  poetry  may  better  suit  the  tastes 
of  readers  in  general,  the  muse  of  Lord  Byron  may  furnish  us 
with  a  fragment  equally  descriptive  of  Malta,  as  of  the  ancient 
mistress  of  the  Adriatic.  ^^ 

'  She  looks  a  sea  Cybele  fresh  from  ocean, 
Rising  with  her  tiara  of  proud  towers 
At  airy  distance,  with  majestic  motion, 
A  ruler  of  the  waters  and  their  powers  : 
And  such  she  was;  — her  daughters  had  their  dowers 
From  spoils  of  nations,  and  the  exhaustless  east 
Pour'd  in  her  lap  all  gems  in  sparkling  showers  j 
In  purple  was  she  robed,  and  of  her  feast 
Monarchs  partook  and  deemed  their  dignity  increased.' 

Childe  Harold,  Canto  4. 


CLIMATE.  159 

Feb.  13.  I  am  delighted  with  the  temperature  of  this  island. 
The  thermometer  at  noon  is  seldom  below  sixty  degrees,  and  I 
have  known  it  considerably  higher.  The  air  is  softer  and  more 
balmy  than  with  us  at  the  same  degree  of  heat.  No  rain  has 
fallen  since  my  arrival  in  Malta,  and  the  sky  has  usually  been 
free  from  clouds. 

The  present  is  the  season  of  verdure  and  flowers.  In  my 
rambles  in  the  neighbourhood  I  have  been  astonished  at  the 
profusion  of  wild  blossoms  which  spot  the  green  herbage.  The 
beautiful  parade  of  Florian  is  clothed  with  a  flowery  mantle  and 
seems  appropriately  named.  The  air  of  the  country  is  truly 
odoriferous ;  and  nature  arrays  herself  in  the  fairest  charms, 
and  pours  out  an  exuberance  of  sweets. 

The  air  of  Malta  two  or  three  months  later  becomes  heated 
and  arid.  The  country  then  wears  a  different  livery.  The 
maximum  of  heat,  however  does  not  appear  to  equal  that  of  a 
New  England  summer ;  only  here  of  course  it  is  longer  and 
less  varying.  When  the  Sirocco,  a  Southeast  wind,  sets  in 
seriously,  everything  wilts  under  its  oppressive  influences.  At 
this  time  indeed  it  sometimes  breezes  from  that  quarter.  I  have 
felt  it  already,  but  with  my  constitutional  habit  it  has  proved  thus 
far  not  unpleasant.     The  word  is   pronounced  here  Sheerok. 

Twentyfive  and  twentyeight  degrees  of  Raumer,  as  deter- 
mined by  metereological  tables,  give  the  general  heat  of  a  Mal- 
tese summer.  Converted  into  Fahrenheit,  they  show  no  greater 
range  than  from  eighty  eight  to  ninety  five  degrees ;  whereas 
scarce  a  summer  passes  at  Boston,  without  an  occasional  rise 
of  the  mercury  to  ninetyeight  and  sometimes  one  hundred 
degrees. 

I  have  looked  into  the  market  and  find  it  abundantly  supplied. 
Provisions  of  every  kind  are  sold  low,  which  is  explainable  by 
the  cheapness  of  labour  and  the  extraordinary  fertility  of  the 
island,  notwithstanding  the  many  mouths  to  feed.  Competition 
also  keeps  them  down  ;  besides,  the  poor  being  destitute  of 
money,  are  not  the  customers.     They  live  by  fishing,  begging. 


]  60  MALTA. 

—  I  had  almost  said,  fasting.  The  market  is  a  table  spread 
with  plenty,  but  not  for  them. 

Every  morning  at  various  stalls  fresh  flowers  in  beautiful 
bouquets  are  offered  for  sale.  The  roses  are  exquisite,  and  all 
are  arranged  with  great  taste.  A  ha'penny  or  two  will  buy  a 
choice  bunch. 

Green  peas  have  been  on  my  table  for  several  days.  Oranges 
garnish  the  dessert,  fresh  from  the  tree,  and  always  with  a  few 
leaves  left  about  the  stem.  I  have  compared  them  with  some 
which  I  brought  with  me  forced  in  the  climate  of  a  green-house, 
not  indeed  in  the  expectation  of  their  vieing  with  the  fruit  of 
Malta,  but  as  a  pleasant  souvenir  of  home,  and  for  the  sake 
of  bringing  together  the  products  of  plants  grown  five  thousand 
miles  apart.  A  yankee  orange  if  it  rivals  in  beauty,  can  hardly 
aspire  to  the  richness  of  the  delicious  varieties  of  Malta.  —  I  have 
seen  some  pomegranates,  but  being  out  of  season,  the  flavour 
was  not  good.  The  fruit  of  the  Indian  fig,  (cactus  opuntia) 
is  sold  in  great  quanfities.  It  is  as  large  as  a  pound  pear.  The 
pulp  is  red  and  very  pleasant.  To  come  at  this,  an  incision  is 
made  through  the  rough  rind  by  a  knife,  and  cut  crosswise.  The 
corners  are  then  taken  by  the  hand,  and  the  coat  is  easily  peeled 
off*.  This  fruit  sells  cheap,  and  is  eaten  by  the  Maltese  with 
avidity.  The  plant  grows  here  as  in  Spain  to  the  size  of  a  very 
large  shrub. 

Abundance  of  fodder  is  daily  brought  to  town  in  carts  and 
on  jacks.  Besides  fresh  grasses  in  bundles,  barley  is  sold  in 
the  green  blade.  It  is  not  mowed  but  pulled  up  by  the  roots. 
This  seems  a  slovenly  custom,  but  it  is  said  to  be  convenient  for 
the  better  clearing  of  the  soil.  I  have  been  amused  at  the 
manner  in  which  goats  are  fed.  Their  food  is  put  in  baskets 
which  are  tied  to  their  mouths  by  cords  passed  round  their 
necks ;  and  they  have  nothing  to  do  but  to  walk  about  eating  all 
the  while.  These  animals,  by  the  bye,  are  led  round  to  the 
houses  of  customers,  and  milked  from  door  to  door.  Families 
must   be    assured    of  the  freshness   of  their  supplies,  and  can 


HUSBANDRY.  161 

have  no  cause  to  complain  of  deception  in  the  quality.  The 
owner  is  saved  the  tax  both  of  porterage,  and  of  buying  vessels 
in  which  to  take  about  the  commodity.  But  it  is  doubtful 
whether  our  milkmen  will  improve  upon  the  hint,  and  com- 
mence driving  their  cows  through  the  streets  of  New  York  and 
Boston. 

The  ancient  custom  of  treading  out  the  corn  by  oxen,  is 
still  in  use  in  Malta  ;  but  I.  would  not  recommend  it.  A  pair  of 
good  flails  or  a  modern  threshing  machine  is  better.  Neither 
can  I  commend  some  of  the  Maltese  implements  of  hus- 
bandry. I  have  seen  ploughs  of  very  uncouth  fashion.  They 
were  made  of  two  sticks  of  wood  of  unequal  lengths,  fitted  and 
riveted  at  one  end  so  as  to  form  a  sufficient  width  of  angle  at 
the  other — -the  longer  and  lighter  stem  being  up,  and  fur- 
nished with  a  handle.  They  are  sharpened  at  the  point  of 
intersection,  and  are  there  sheathed  with  iron  or  hardened  by  fire. 
A  bracket  is  placed  between  the  sticks  a  little  way  back  of  what 
may  be  called  the  coulter,  and  the  instrument  is  complete. 

There  is  another  kind  of  plough,  if  possible  still  ruder.  It 
is  made  of  two  branches,  or  a  natural  knee,  of  a  tree.  The 
bigger  stem  being  placed  lowest,  smoothed  at  the  bottom  and 
pointed  at  the  end,  serves  for  the  share.  The  extremity,  as  in 
the  former  sort,  is  sometimes  hardened  by  burning.  A  cleet 
under  the  upper  limb  prevents  the  accumulation  of  earth  when 
the  plough  is  worked.  An  upright  stick  is  nailed  behind  to  be 
used  as  a  handle.  Drays,  harrows  and  manual  instruments  are 
often  quite  as  clumsy.  As  for  cattle  in  husbandry,  when  mules 
and  steers  cannot  be  commanded,  donkeys  are  used  and  even 
cows,  —  generally  singly,  but  sometimes  very  oddly  coupled. 
A  gentleman  told  me  he  saw  the  other  day  an  ass  and  a  cow 
yoked  together,  contrary  to  a  precept  in  a  certain  ancient  code. 
But  the  Levitical  law,  it  seems,  does  not  reign  here.  Necessity 
knows  no  other  than  the  law  of  liberty. 

There  are  still  other  shifts.  If  a  peasant  be  out  o^ stock,  tech- 
ninally  speaking,  he  tugs  himself,  in  place  of  a  team.  I  have  seen 
a  man  dragging  a  hurdle  about  a  field  to  smooth  and  harrow 
21 


J  62  MALTA. 

it ;  and  ploughs  are  drawn  by  two  or  more  Maltese,  when  the 
soil  is  light  and  '  feasible.'  As  for  women,  they  are  ready  to 
take  the  place  of  men,  and  if  employment  offers,  there  is  no 
drudgery  to  which  the  lowest  do  not  willingly  submit.  They 
toil  in  the  gardens  and  fields,  in  digging,  planting  and  tilling ; 
and  in  town  they  work  abroad  quite  as  well.  It  was  only  yes- 
terday that  T  saw  a  woman  em-ployed  in  a  smithery.  She  was 
belabouring  a  red  hot  bar  of  iron,  and  the  strokes  resounded 
from  the  anvil  right  merrily. 

Game  (feathered)  is  plentiful  in  Malta  at  certain  seasons,  but 
being  chiefly  of  the  migratory  sorts,  it  is  irregular  in  its  supplies. 
I  have  remarked  live  partridges  in  the  market  exposed  in  cages 
and  baskets.  Quails,  plovers  and  Beccaficos,  (i.  e.  figpeckers) 
are  esteemed  the  choicest  birds.  The  first,  it  is  said,  are  sure  to 
arrive  in  great  numbers  on  the  island  at  the  autumnal  equinox. 
The  old  proverb  that  necessity,  that  is  to  say,  want,  is  the 
mother  of  invention  is  verified  in  the  Maltese.  They  have  ac- 
quired the  faculty  of  imitating  the  notes  of  different  birds,  and 
catch  them  with  surprising  skill.  They  have  also  a  very  long 
sight,  and  perceive  falcons  and  others  of  the  feathered  race  at  a 
wonderful  height  in  the  air.  As  '  shots,'  they  are  called  excel- 
lent, and.  seldom  miss  those  birds  which  they  do  not  succeed  in 
taking  with  nets.] 

Falconry  has  been  an  object  of  considerable  attention  in 
Malta.  It  flourished  in  the  days  of  the  Order,  and  has  not  totally 
declined.  It  is  a  little  curious  that  the  knights  received  the 
island  on  condition  of  sending  annually  a  falcon  to  the  emperor 
Charles  Fifth  and  his  successors,  in  perpetuity.  The  English 
probably,  do  not  trouble  themselves  with  heeding  the  stipula- 
tion. But  I  find  from  a  list  of  the  expenses  of  the  old  Order 
now  before  me,  that  down  to  its  fall,  the  present  of  a  hawk  was 
yearly  made  not  only  to  the  king  of  Spain,  but  to  their  majes- 
ties of  France  and  Portugal,  not  forgetting  the  viceroy  of  Sicily. 
The  cost  of  keeping  up  this  ceremonial,  i.  e.  in  training  and  send- 
ing the  birds,  amounted  annually  to  more  than  a  thousand  Maltese 
crowns,  or  four  hundred  and  sixty  dollars  of  our  currency. 


MARaUIS  OF  HASTINGS.  163 

There  is  a  beautiful  public  garden,  out  of  the  city  on  the  side 
of  Florian.  It  would  be  thought  with  us  a  vast  conservatory  of 
exotics.  I  have  found  there  American  aloes,  date  trees,  ban- 
nanas,  yuuccas,  fig  trees,  cactuses  of  various  kinds,  arbor-vitses, 
Turkish  cypresses  and  many  other  curious  plants.  A  grand 
terraced  walk  traverses  its  extent,  and  it  is  a  very  inviting  spot. 
Yet  strange  to  say,  it  is  less  frequented  than  even  the  Almeda 
at  Gibraltar. 

The  airy  and  noble  galleries  on  the  corner  bastions  daily  in- 
vite a  walk  thither.  The  eye  beholds  from  them  a  panora- 
ma of  grand  and  striking  objects,  and  the  reflections  they  furnish 
I  love  to  indulge. 

On  another  quarter  of  the  walls,  (a  rampart  at  the  northwest 
angle,)  is  the  tomb  of  the  marquis  of  Hastings.  His  body  rests 
there,  but  his  heart  has  been  sent  to  England.  Over  the  tomb 
is  a  large  jnonumental  slab,  enclosed  by  a  circular  curb  sixty 
feet  in  circumference  on  which  is  built  a  strong  iron  railing. 
Some  trees  are  planted  about  the  spot,  chiefly  evergreens,  such  as 
cypresses  and  American  white  pines.  The  choice  of  the  latter, 
w^hich  I  have  nowhere  else  seen  abroad,  is  something  singular, 
though  probably  accidental.  The  marquis,  when  Lord  Raw- 
don,  was  so  roughly  handled  in  Virginia  and  the  Carolinas  that 
one  would  hardly  expect,  if  his  taste  had  been  consulted,  that 
any  native  of  the  American  forest  should  be  selected  to  grace 
and  shade  his  sepulchre.  The  pine  is  a  beautiful  tree,  how- 
ever, and  abounding  as  it  does  in  the  south,  must  have  often 
attracted  his  notice  and  possibly  his  partiality.  He  liked  it,  un- 
doubtedly, better  than  the  men  who  sallied  to  meet  him  from 
under  its  coverts.  ^^ 

On  the  whole,  Am.ericans  have  reason  to  be  satisfied  with 
the  marquis.  While  opposed  to  them  he  fought  like  a  gallant 
soldier,  and  when  unfortunate  submitted  to  his  reverses  with  a 
good  grace.  His  letter  to  Mr  Lee,  the  biographer,  written 
shortly  before  his  death,  is  a  fine  production ;  and  the  strictures 
are  offered  in  a  manly  but  temperate  spirit.  He  had  many 
valuable   qualifies.     His   heart,  while  living,  was  in  the  right 


164  MALTA. 

place.  And  his  marchioness,  (who  received  it  after  his  death) 
undoubtedly  thinks  it  is  so  now.  Whether  as  Lord  Rawdon 
in  America,  Earl  Moira  in  Ireland,  or  Marquis  of  Hastings 
in  India,  he  was  devoted  in  his  loyalty  to  his  sovereign,  and 
never  sullied  his  character  for  honour,  probity  and  valour. 

He  rests  alone  amid  monuments  of  glory  ;  and  the  tribute  of 
respect  paid  his  memory,  in  giving  him  such  a  place  of  sepul- 
ture, was  well  merited.  He  was  popular  in  the  government  of 
Malta.  He  did  more  than  all  others  of  its  English  rulers,  — 
the  Balls  and  Maitlands  not  excepted,  —  to  ameliorate  and  im- 
prove the  condition  of  the  people.  Several  humane  institudons, 
founded  or  patronized  by  him,  are  honourable  memorials  of  his 
philanthropy.  These  will  be  described  as  they  come  in  course 
for  inspection.  The  marquis  would  have  done  more  good  if 
the  government  at  home  had  permitted  him.  I  have  spoken 
of  his  plan  of  a  suitable  church  and  the  cause  of  its  failure. 
Since  his  death,  the  office  which  he  held  has  been  razeed  from 
that  of  governor-general,  to  a  lieutenant-governorship  com- 
mandant. 

The  land  force  which  the  English  keep  here  permanently,  is 
from  four  to  five  thousand  men.  It  includes  artillery  and 
native  troops.  Speaking  of  these,  it  should  be  observed  that 
the  plan  of  raising  soldiers  adopted  in  India,  is  in  trial  among  the 
Maltese.  A  corps  of  natives  answering  to  the  Sepoys  of  the 
East  has  been  established,  which  numbers  between  eight  hundred 
and  one  thousand  men.  They  make  good  looking  soldiers,  not 
so  stout  as  the  English,  but  very  active  and  capable.  I  have 
seen  them  drilled  and  exercised.  The  corps  is  officered  by 
Englishmen,  who  give  the  words  of  command  in  their  own  lan- 
guage, though  little  else  is  known  of  it  by  the  troops  themselves. 

Feb.  14.  —  Today  an  English  frigate  arrived,  bringing  in  a 
Greek  pirate.  Such  is  the  change  of  things  !  No  longer  Turk- 
ish galleys  and  Barbary  xebecs  are  brought  in  triumph  to  the 
port,  but  the  corsair  ships  of  a  people  called  Christian. 

I  have  crossed  this  evening  to  the  Pratique  Office  to  learn 
more  of  the  character  of  the  aforesaid  Greek.     And  what  does 


GREEK  PIRACIES.  165 

she  prove  ?  Nothing  less  than  one  of  Miauli's  own  squadron, 
and  late  an  associate  with  that  very  fleet,  for  whose  elTorts  and 
achievements  the  sympathies  and  admiration  of  the  world  have 
been  so  strongly  solicited.  Instead  of  hauling  up  at  the  close 
of  the  late  campaign  and  remaining  snug  in  winter  quarters,  she 
put  forth  on  a  new  scent.  Her  object  was  plunder  ;  and  '  Tros 
Tyriusve,'  —  Turk  or  Christian  —  it  made  no  odds  to  her.  Her 
first  capture  was  a  French  ship  from  Marseilles,  and  next  a  Ge- 
noese brig.  Suspicion  of  the  pirate  having  been  excited,  a 
British  frigate  was  sent  in  quest ;  and  on  securing  the  prize, 
property  was  found  on  board  to  the  amount  of  six  thousand 
dollars,  proving  to  have  belonged  to  the  two  vessels  just  mentioned. 

I  am  sorry  to  say  that  these  doings  are  considered  here,  with 
too  much  reason,  to  be  characteristic  of  the  Greeks.  A  gentle- 
man of  great  intelligence  and  distinction  said  to  me  — '  There  is 
a  specimen  of  what  you  are  to  look  for  from  Greeks.  Every 
ship  of  their  squadrons  should  be  watched  with  distrust.  And 
it  will  be  w^ell,  depend  upon  it,  if  the  frigate  which  your  coun- 
trymen have  built  for  them  and  called  the  '  Hope,'  proves  not 
in  the  end  a  pirate.' 

In  confirmation  of  such  opinions  and  even  worse,  1  am  forced 
to  add  some  unpleasant  accounts  which  I  received  from  other 
sources  since  coming  to  Malta.  Within  the  last  few  wrecks 
several  Austrian  and  Neapolitan  merchant  ships  have  been 
stopped  and  overhauled  by  Greek  cruiserS;  and  not  only  plun- 
dered of  specie  and  other  property,  but  their  crews  were  abused 
in  a  manner  not  to  be  named.     Two  months  ago  the  American 

brig  S was  boarded  by  them  and  in  part  robbed  ;  and  the 

abomination  alluded  to  in  the  case  of  the  European  vessels  was 
perpetrated  on  every  one  of  the  brig's  company.  The  same 
outrage  is  beheved  to  have  recently  occurred  in  the  instance  of 

another  American  ship.  As  respects  the  S ,  the  account  was 

fully  confirmed  to  me  by  the  master-commandant  of  the  United 
States  schooner  Porpoise,  who  arrived  here  on  Monday.  That 
ofiicer  agrees  with  all  others  with  whom  I  have  conversed  in  Malta, 
in  pronouncing  the  general  character  of  the  Greeks  detestable. 


]  66  MALTA. 

And  these  are  the  men  eulogised,  I  repeat,  as  patriots,  heroes,  and 
Christians,  —  for  whom  the  benevolence  of  the  citizens  of  Eng- 
land and  the  United  States  has  been  eloquently  invoked,  —  and  in 
whose  behalf  circular  addresses  for  charitable  collections  have 
been  sent  round  to  all  our  congregations,  and  read  from  almost 
every  pulpit  in  our  cities  and  villages  ! —  Under  the  protection  of 
the  Porpoise  came  the  Boston  ship  Caspian,  homeward  bound 
from  Smyrna.  She  barely  touched  here,  staying  about  an  hour, 
but  I  was  happy  in  availing  myself  of  so  direct  an  opportunity 
of  communicating  with  distant  friends.  Two  or  three  other 
Americans  have  lately  come  to  port,  but  they  are  in  quarantine, 
and  none  of  them  will  probably  outstay  it.  One  of  the  vessels 
is  a  beautiful  brig  from  Charlestown,  Massachusetts,  which  Has 
made  her  voyage  in  the  remarkably  short  run  of  thirtysix  days. 
Her  model  and  trim  are  greatly  admired. 

An  English  pleasure  yacht,  arrived  in  the  harbour,  is 
another  object  of  curiosity.  She  is  owned  by  a  Welch  gentle- 
man of  fortune,  the  Hon.  Mr  T  — ,  who  has  been  cruising  from 
port  to  port  in  the  Mediterranean  the  last  two  years.  Hav- 
ing come  into  the  possession  of  his  estates  and  not  liking  the  old 
manor  house  where  his  ancestors  lived,  he  determined  on 
erecting  a  new  and  splendid  one.  To  meet  the  cost,  he 
put  his  lands  out  '  to  nurse '  till  his  revenues  should  sufficiently 
accumulate  ;  and  having  a  passion  for  maritime  adventures,  he 
built  this  beautiful  yacht,  (which  only  cost  him  £]  0,000, 
equipments  and  all.)  and  is  living  a  few  years  abroad,  as  he 
thinks,  very  economically.  He  is  well  acquainted  with  nautical 
affairs  and  is  generally  intelligent.  His  yacht  is  schooner-rigged, 
and  modelled  precisely  after  the  Baltimore  clippers,  having 
the  same  mould  of  hull,  rake  of  the  masts  and  so  forth.  A 
privateer  prize  taken  in  the  last  war,  served  as  a  pattern.  I 
remarked  that  the  masts  were  not  so  long  in  proportion,  and 
learned  that  they  had  been  cut  down  five  feet.  Mr  T.  acknow- 
ledged that  he  knew  not  how  the  Baltimoreans  could  sail  their 
vessels  in  safety  with  such  tops  as  they  carry.  In  one  of  the 
earliest  trips  of  his  yacht,  a  squall  was  encountered  which  came 


COMMERCE  OF  THE  TORT.  1 67 

nigh  to  capsizing  her ;  and  she  had  to  run  in,  at  great  risk,  to  a 
neighbouring  cove.  The  masts  were  then  shortened,  and  the 
vessel  is  now  worked  with  ease  and  despatch.  The  proprietor 
boasts  of  its  being  the  swiftest  sailer  in  the  Mediterranean.  ^* 

The  commerce  of  the  island,  though  materially  diminished,  is 
still  considerable.  It  is  the  entrepot  not  only  of  many  British 
goods,  but  of  a  large  amount  of  the  productions  of  the  neigh- 
bouring shores.  There  is  a  considerable  contraband  trade  with 
Sicily  and  Calabria,  chiefly  carried  on  by  feluccas ;  and  the 
Maltese  are  very  expert  and  vigilant  in  plying  it.  By  these  and 
other  means,  Valetta  is  always  in  condition  to  furnish  good  as- 
sorted cargoes. 

From  twentyfive  to  thirty  American  vessels  yearly  arrive 
here  direct  from  the  States,  besides  others  who  touch  at  the 
port  on  their  way  to  and  from  Smyrna,  and  the  Archipelago. 
Our  ships  bring  flour,  sugar,  coffee,  indigo,  rice,  fish  and  tobacco. 
In  return  they  take  some  of  the  native  produce,  —  also  fruits 
and  wines  of  Sicily,  —  Barbary  wool,  and  Zante  currants  which 
often  pass  for  sultanas.  Woodhouse  keeps  constantly  stored 
in  this  place  a  large  quantity  of  wine,  ready  for  a  market.  His 
magazine  is  in  the  old  hospital  of  the  knights.  It  is  estimated 
that  his  stock  of  *  Sicily,'  at  present  in  Malta,  is  not  less  than  ten 
thousand  pipes. 

The- main  port  of  La  Valetta  is  truly  superb.  Commodore 
Rodgers  pronounces  it  the  finest  in  the  Mediterranean,  and  per- 
haps inferior  to  none  in  the  world.  He  remarks  that  fifty  such 
ships  as  the  North  Carolina  could  anchor  in  it  at  once  ;  —  and 
she  is  no  cock-boat.  Her  burthen  is  two  thousand  three  hundred 
tons.  The  entrance  to  the  harbour  is  scarcely  forty  rods  wide ; 
but  within,  it  expands  to  an  average  breadth  of  at  least  seven 
hundred  yards.  It  is  so  protected  that  the  largest  ships  in  the 
stormiest  weather  might  ride  in  it  almost  without  a  cable. 

The  frequent  arrivals  and  departures  of  vessels  give  an  ani- 
mating appearance  to  the  harbour.  An  English  frigate  has  just 
left  Vv'ith  a  convoy  for  Mitylene  and  thence  to  Alexandria.     A 


] 68  MALTA. 

French  ship  of  war  has  lately  taken  pratique,  and  the  officers 
who  have  come  on  shore  are  very  busy  in  looking  up  the '  lions. ' 
Their  naval  dress  is  not  becoming ;  and  there  is  something 
wanting  in  their  step  and  air  to  give  them  finish.  It  is  a  uni- 
versal remark  here  that  '  the  English  and  Americans '  are  the 
only  good  looking  officers ;  and  the  Maltese  have  ample  oppor- 
tunities of  drawing  comparisons. 

It  is  pleasant  to  see  another  of  the  United  States'  flags  in  port. 
The  Porpoise  will  leave,  however,  tomorrow  for  Mahon.  The 
North  Carolina  is  still  an  object  of  admiration.  The  intercourse 
between  the  commodore  and  both  the  British  admiral  and  the 
acting  governor  of  Malta,  is  conducted  with  great  civility.  They 
express  a  wish  that  the  North  Carolina  should  stay  to  complete 
her  term  of  quarantine,  that  the  English  authorities,  naval  and 
military,  may  interchange  personal  courtesies  with  the  American 
officers.  If  she  were  released,  there  would  be  a  crowd  of  vis- 
itors eager  to  inspect  the  noble  ship.  But  objections  are  still 
set  up  by  a  company  of  doctors,  who  undertake  to  interpret  and 
apply  rigidly  the  laws  of  quarantine.  The  commodore  does 
not  feel  particularly  obliged  to  them,  and  becoming  sick  of  his 
duress  threatens  soon  to  be  off.  The  grand  concerts  of  the 
marine  band  are  kept  up  on  board,  morning  and  evening ;  and 
they  fully  vie  with  the  proudest  strains  which  echo  back  from  the 
bastions  and  parades  on  shore. 

I  have  visited  by  invitation  the  Revenge.  The  officer  in  com- 
mand while  in  port,  to  whose  politeness  I  am  indebted  for  the 
opportunity,  showed  me  the  ship  in  detail,  and  a  truly  fine  exhi- 
bition it  was.  The  Revenge  is  up  to  her  pretensions,  and  is  a 
powerful  two-decker.  The  tars  are  a  stout  set  of  fellows  ; 
their  faces  looked  cheery,  and  I  have  no  doubt  they  have  hearts 
of  oak.  TJiey  were  piped  to  mess  while  I  was  aboard,  and  I 
w^as  glad  to  see  them  devouring  in  good  humour  their  salt  junks 
and  quaffing  their  grog.  ^^  There  was  perfect  neatness  and 
order  in  all  the  arrangements  of  the  ship.  A  lunch  was  after- 
wards served  in  the  officers'  room,  and  we  spent  a  pleasant  half 
hour  at  the  festive  board. 


BRITISH  NAVY.  1  69 

British  naval  officers  are  wide  awake  to  the  condition  of  our 
military  marine.  Candid  men  confess  that  they  entered  on  the 
last  struggle  with  America  with  quite  too  overweening  notions  of 
superiority.  They  had  beaten  every  other  people,  and  why 
not  the  Yankees  ?  Besides,  their  thousand  ships,  they  say, 
looked  better  on  the  Admiralty  roll  than  they  all  proved  in 
service.  Many  of  them  were  old  ;  the  system  of  discipline 
had  become  lax  through  a  confidence  of  invincibility,  and 
changes  were  requisite  to  bring  the  navy  back  to  a  sound  and 
healthy  condition.  The  guns  of  the  frigate  Constitution,  which 
in  twenty  minutes  riddled  to  a  honeycomb  the  ship  of  Dacres, 
were  the  first  sounds  to  startle  their  dreams  of  security  ;  but  it 
required  a  few  more  rolls  of  Yankee  thunder  to  dispel  their  re- 
maining illusions.  Since  the  war,  they  have  been  careful  to 
improve  by  those  lessons.  They  have  overhauled  their  naval 
regime,  rubbed  up  their  tactics,  built  stronger  ships,  and  they 
think  themselves  in  better  condition  to  cope  with  maritime 
powers  than  ever.  This  is  well ;  for  Americans,  they  may  be 
assured,  if  silent,  have  not  been  sleeping  all  the  while.  If  their 
navy  was  good  in  1812,  it  is  reasonable  to  suppose  that  it  is 
now  somewhat  better.  The  'bone  and  gristle '  of  youth  has 
hardened  into  manhood  ;  and  with  a  stouter  heart  and  stronger 
arm,  the  head  is  nowise  weaker. 

It  is  sufficiently  encouraging  to  Americans  that  the  explana- 
tions of  the  last  war  are  all  on  the  side  of  the  English;  that 
the  latter  have  been  quietly  acting  on  the  maxim,  '  ab  hoste  do- 
ceri ;'  and  that  the  French  government,  the  power  of  Con- 
tinental Europe  most  ambitious  of  a  marine,  has  remodelled 
its  old  naval  system  so  as  to  bring  it  into  closest  conformity  with 
that  of  the  United  States.  When  Commodore  Rodgers  was  at 
Toulon,  the  ship  docks  and  arsenals  of  that  great  station  were 
submitted  to  his  minutest  inspection,  —  with  a  liberality  very 
different  from  what  prevails  at  Portsmouth  and  Plymouth  to- 
wards foreigners.  Information  was  given  him  without  reserve, 
and  his  suggestions  were  received  with  the  weight  of  respect  and 
22 


1 70  MALTA. 

consideration  which  they  claimed.  His  opinion  is,  that  France 
is  already  a  great  naval  power,  —  never  so  capable  on  the 
ocean  as  at  present,  —  that  fleet  with  fleet  she  is  able  to  match 
the  strongest  which  England  can  oppose  to  her  ;  and  that  in  an- 
other rupture  between  the  two  powers,  as  England  has  by  far  the 
most  numerous  points  to  cover,  the  chances  of  maritime  suc- 
cess in  a  general  view  are  nearly  at  least,  if  not  quite,  on  the  side 
of  the  French  marine. 

The  English  complain  of  our  practice  in  rating.  — '  What,' 
said  the  officer  in  command,  as  we  were  walking  the  quarter 
deck  of  the  Revenge,  his  eye  then  resting  on  the  enormous  bulk 
of  the  North  Carolina, —  'what  do  you  call  that  flag-ship  ? ' 

'  A  seventy  four, '  said  I. 

'  Seventyfour,  indeed  !  She  is  pierced  for  a  hundred  guns 
and  upwards.  Ninetyeight  I  see  mounted.  Here  is  a  ship 
rated  seventyfour,  and  she  carries  that  armament  and  no  more.' 

'  Be  it  so,'  was  the  reply.  '  Names  are  not  things.  Every 
nation  has  its  fancies.  Your  own  government  set  us  the  exam- 
ple we  pursue.  If  it  be  one  better  in  the  breach  than  in  the 
observance,  it  is  only  till  lately  that  you  yourselves  have  found 
it  out.  The  guns  of  our  ships  can  be  counted.  Besides,  the 
rates  of  our  line-of-battle  ships  are  partly  determined  by  some 
peculiarities  in  the  phraseology  of  an  Act  of  Congress  under 
which  they  have  been  builtj  and  it  is  more  convenient  to  retain 
them.' 

'  But  the  rates,'  said  the  officer,  '  are  not  the  only  matter  of 
objection.  While  the  North  Carolina,  nominally  of  two  decks, 
is  really  a  three  decker,  her  weight  of  metal  is  more  than  pro- 
portionable. I  know  the  calibre  of  her  guns ;  and,'  he  added 
emphatically,  *  that  ship  can  throw  a  heavier  broadside  than  any 
first-rate  in  his  Majesty's  navy.' 

'  It  is  fortunate,'  I  answered  jocularly,  *  that  you  chance  to 
know  it.  You  must  take  care  then  to  match  with  her,  in  case 
of  a  grapple,  one  of  your  best  ships.' 

'  We  shall  manage  that,'  said  he,  —  and  conversation  turned 
to  another  topic 


CONVICTS.  171 

I  left  the  Revenge  favourably  impressed  with  all  I  remarked 
on  board,  and  not  insensible  to  the  obliging  civilities  which  I  had 
received. 

The  only  entrance  to  the  city  by  the  Marino,  —  that  is  to  say 
from  the  Grand  Harbour,  —  is  through  an  avenue  which  exhibits 
the  wonderful  strength  of  the  surrounding  defences.  The  pass- 
age is  fifty  paces  in  length,  through  walls  of  immense  solidity. 
There  are  two  other  entrances,  one  from  the  land  side  called  the 
Royal  Gate,  and  another,  a  postern,  opening  from  the  quarantine 
basin.  These  are  also  strongly  guarded.  When  the  gates  are 
shut  at  night,  Valetta  is  one  vast  citadel  with  bulwarks  triple 
sealed. 

Abraham  Tucker,  in  the  character  of  '  Search,'  has  some- 
where said  that  it  is  lucky  there  is  a  measure  of  crime  in  the  world ; 
for  how  else  could  the  king  find  men  enough  to  recruit  his  army 
and  navy  ?  The  observation  is  brought  to  my  mind  by  seeing 
the  good  account  to  which  criminals  are  here  applied.  The 
English  have  a  natural  antipathy  to  dirt ;  and  they  are  the  only 
people  that  I  know^  of  in  Europe  whose  cities  are  distinguished 
by  neatness.  Malta,  with  all  the  pauperism  abroad  in  its  streets, 
displays  perfect  cleanliness.  To  effect  this,  criminals,  instead  of 
being  pent  up  idly  in  dungeons,  are  employed  as  street-sweeps 
and  scavengers.  Some  of  them  drag  about  hand-carts  to  which 
they  are  chained,  and  carry  away  the  rubbish  and  ordure  which 
other  wretches  of  the  same  class  are  obliged  to  collect  and 
scrape  up.  They  perambulate  in  small  companies  each  under 
the  guard  of  a  soldier,  who  has  arms  loaded.  Every  morning  as 
soon  as  day  breaks,  their  bells  are  rung  through  the  streets  to 
give  notice  to  the  inhabitants  to  bring  forth  their  disposeables. 
The  streets  are  next  attended  to,  and  at  the  usual  hour  of 
sallying  abroad  after  breakfast,  I  find  the  town  swept  and  gar- 
nished. The  clank  of  the  chains  and  manacles  of  the  convicts 
is  not  very  agreeable  ;  but  the  reflection  arises  that  they  are 
better  employed  as  they  are,  than  in  wickedness  ;  and  the  subject 
comes  to  this,  that  it  is  lamentable  that  such  a  thing  as  crime 
there  is,  and  that  such  beings  as  criminals  do  exist. 


172 


MALTA. 


There  is  another  set  of  objects  which  can  only  be  looked 
upon  with  unmixed  horror,  which  one  is  compelled  to  see  as 
his  eye  glances  along  the  coast  below  Fort  Ricasoli.  It  is  the 
spectacle  of  four  pirates  hung  in  chains,  who  were  executed 
several  years  ago,  and  have  remained  on  their  gibbets  ever  since. 
They  are  kept  there  '  in  terrorem,'  —  as  scarecrows  ;  for  the 
crew  of  every  vessel  is  forced  to  see  them  on  entering  the  har- 
bour. I  doubt  the  policy  of  this.  Unquesdonably  it  was  no 
encouraging  spectacle  to  the  piratical  Greeks  brought  in  today  5 
but  even  for  them  the  warning  was  too  late.  And  why  inflict 
on  all  peaceable  and  honest  people  the  inevitable  sight  of  what 
must  be  so  shocking  ?  Nothing  can  be  more  hideous,  especially 
when  the  wind  is  high,  than  to  behold  even  from  a  distance 
those  carcases,  in  their  tattered  coverings,  dangling  to  the  breeze. 

Passing  a  day  or  two  since  near  St  Elmo,  I  saw  some  heaps 
of  ruins,  and  workmen  employed  in  further  demolidons".  Exam- 
ining the  ground,  I  found  them  excavating  among  the  dungeons 
built  by  the  old  knights  as  receptacles  for  their  captives  in  war. 
They  were  sad  looking  cells  indeed,  and  would  have  done 
honour  to  a  Turk, -~I  mean,  to  own,  not  tenant  them.  The 
prison  range  was  very  extensive.  A  part  of  it  is  to  be  retained,, 
and  kept  for  a  gaol. 

In  justice  to  the  Knights  it  should  be  observed,  that  they  were 
not  wont  to  incarcerate  even  the  major  part  of  their  prisoners 
except  at  night,  and  then  not  all.  Only  the  more  desperate 
ones  were  kept  in  constant  confinement.  They  reserved  their 
captives  either  for  exchange  or  ransom,  and  meanwhile  treated 
them  with  general  humanity.  They  were  distributed  on  board 
the  galleys,  or  employed  in  the  different  magazines  and  arsenals, 
or  occupied  in  the  public  works  about  the  port  and  fortifications. 
Individuals  frequently  received  them  into  their  families,  and  not  a 
few  of  the  Grand  Crosses  were  in  the  habit  of  employing  them 
as  grooms  and  valets.  Some  were  retained  as  cooks  in  the 
palaces  of  the  different  Languages,  and  were  occasionally 
admitted  in  menial  capacities  into  the  household  and  about  the 
person  of  the  Grand  Master. 


CONSPIRACY  OF  SLAVES.  173 

But  such  indulgence  and  fancied  security  on  the  part  of  the 
Knights,  had  well  nigh  cost  them  dear.  It  was  the  cause  of  their 
exposure  to  a  greater  peril  than  had  ever  befallen  them  after  the 
famous  siege  by  the  Turks.  The  incidence  happened  about 
the  middle  of  the  last  century.  There  were  then  four  thousand 
Turkish  and  Moorish  slaves  in  Malta.  The  Bashaw  of  Rhodes, 
one  of  the  greatest  officers  in  the  Ottoman  empire,  was  himself 
a  captive  in  La  Valetta.  A  negro  was  the  wretch  who  first 
started  the  plot,  w^hich  had  it  succeeded,  would  have  eventuated 
in  the  most  tragic  consequences. 

The  plan  was,  that  there  should  be  a  general  rising  of  all  the 
slaves  on  the  anniversary  of  St  Peter  and  St  Paul,  when  the 
major  part  of  the  inhabitants  of  La  Valetta  would  be  attending 
the  religious  celebration  at  Citta  Vecchia.  The  Grand  Master's 
valets  were  to  despatch  him  first  when  he  should  retire  to  take 
his  afternoon's  sieste  ;  and  the  exhibiting  his  head  from  a  window 
of  the  palace  was  to  be  the  signal  of  the  general  insurrection. 
The  slaves  in  the  houses  of  the  knights  were  to  massacre  their 
masters  forthwith,  while  others  of  the  conspirators  were  to  rush 
to  St  Elmo,  the  Armoury  and  the  city  gates,  and  to  secure  those 
important  posts.  It  was  expected,  that  a  Barbary  fleet  would 
appear  that  day  on  the  coast  to  cooperate  with  the  insurgents, 
and  the  slaves  in  all  the  Maltese  galleys  were  to  rise  in  concert. 
The  plot  had  been  deeply  laid  ;  the  Bashaw  was  in  the  secret, 
and  measures  were  conducted  awhile  with  a  prudence  and 
secresy  that  seemed  to  insure  success. 

A  Persian  captive  who  had  been  admitted  to  the  conspiracy, 
but  who  in  a  fortunate  moment  chanced  to  quarrel  with  the  ring- 
leader, was  the  agent  who  divulged  it.  His  statements  at  first 
were  not  credited,  but  subsequently,  circumstances  were  devel- 
oped which  abundantly  confirmed  them.  No  time  was  then 
lost  in  seizing  the  principal  conspirators.  They  were  tried, 
condemned,  and  sixty  of  them  were  executed.  Advices  were 
sent  to  the  galleys  and  different  quarters  of  the  island.  Mean- 
while the  slaves   were  shut  up,  and  kept  out  of  mischief  till 


k 


174  MALTA. 

their  numbers  were  reduced  by  exchange  and  redemption ;  and 
thus  a  combination  was  defeated  which  threatened  at  first 
nothing  less  than  the  destruction  of  the  Order.  1  should  add 
the  mention  of  another  circumstance  in  this  scheme  of  atrocity, 
namely,  that  poison  had  been  distributed  to  all  the  cooks  in  the 
Inns  of  the  Languages,  that  those  of  the  knights  who  might  not 
fall  by  the  sword,  should  perish  by  another  process  still  more 
barbarous. 

Feb.  15.  —  As  the  weather  grows  warmer,  I  begin  to  find 
the  advantage  of  narrow  streets.  Together  with  the  high  houses 
on  either  side,  they  contribute  essentially,  by  the  shade  they 
afford,  to  the  comfort  of  a  pedestrian  in  a  sultry  day  ;  and  the 
temperature  has  in  two  or  three  instances  already  been  up  to 
summer  heat. 

I  have  observed  also  a  convenience  in  the  plan  adopted  in 
some  of  the  streets  of  spacing  them  off  like  stairways.  Of 
course,  this  is  only  used  in  those  which  would  naturally  slope. 
At  first,  the  practice  struck  me  as  clumsy,  and  seemed  like  vir- 
tually shutting  up  the  streets  which  were  so  constructed.  But 
the  steps  are  found  of  service  in  aiding  the  passage  of  mules  and 
donkeys,  as  they  prevent  their  slipping  under  the  weight  of 
their  heavy  burdens.  The  animals  mount  the  stairs  quite  as 
easily  as  human  bipeds. 

In  La  Valetta,  while  the  accommodations  of  residence  for  a 
portion  of  the  inhabitants  are  very  ample  and  convenient,  those 
of  others  are  proportionably  straitened  and  pinched.  I  have 
said  something  of  this  in  speaking  of  the  general  efl^ect  of  the 
houses,  but  the  topic  is  deserving  of  further  notice.  In  form 
and  mass  the  buildings  are  uncommonly  stately ;  and  at  night 
when  the  streets  are  quiet  and  the  population  is  within  doors,  a 
stranger,  passing  through  Valetta,  might  take  it  for  a  city  of  an- 
tique palaces.  The  founders  of  these  noble  houses  studied  the 
comfort  of  coolness  in  their  construction,  —  the  walls  of  drawing, 
dining  and  even  common  sitting-rooms  being  often  from  thirty  to 
forty  feet  in  height.     A  tall  man  in  such  apartments  is  in  litde 


DOMESTIC  NOTICES.  175 

danger  of  striking  his  head  against  the  ceiling.  In  fact,  their 
great  comparative  height  and  spaciousness  give  a  diminutive 
look  to  the  human  stature. 

For  the  benefit  of  the  poorer  classes  forming  the  multitude, 
these  huge  buildings  are  often  made  to  accommodate  many 
small  families.  As  a  single  room  on  the  ground  floor  some- 
times serves  for  a  litde  household,  many  doors  open  on  the 
street,  and  the  light  and  air  are  admitted  to  such  apartments 
only  through  those  passages.  A  white  cotton  curtain  is  drawn 
before  the  entrances,  and  when  the  doors  are  themselves  closed, 
the  rooms  are  ventilated  by  means  of  litde  glasses  fixed  in  the 
upper  pannels  and  made  to  swing  back. 

It  may  be  said  that  such  abodes  must  be  cheerless.  Un- 
doubtedly ;  but  then  they  are  litde  used  by  day.  The  Maltese 
are  not  domestic  bodies.  The  men  are  always  abroad  ;  and  the 
women,  if  they  are  not  at  mass  or  roving  about  the  streets,  will 
stand  or  sit  for  hours  in  their  doorways,  observing  the  busy 
crowds,  and  ready  to  salute,  or  chat  whh,  a  passing  acquaint- 
ance. If  anything  of  a  domesdc  nature  requires  to  be  done, 
as  cooking  or  the  like,  it  is  performed  abroad.  They  have  no 
fire-places  in  their  houses,  and  the  culinary  apparatus  is  a  porta- 
ble stone  stove  shaped  like  a  jar,  with  a  grate  on  the  top,  which 
they  set  just  outside  of  the  foot  pavement  in  the  street  when 
they  have  occasion  to  light  it.  Every  morning,  about  eight, 
these  litde  stoves  are  brought  forth  before  their  houses  and  with 
a  few  coals  or  splinters  they  kindle  a  small  fire,  and  the  prepara- 
tions for  their  frugal  breakfasts  go  on.  As  they  are  ranged  in 
regular  file  along  the  line  of  the  curb-stone,  they  make,  together 
with  the  groups  around  them,  an  odd  appearance. 

Owing  to  the  mixed  character  of  the  populafion  and  their 
diversified  pursuits,  meals  are  taken  at  very  difl^erent  hours. 
The  common  people  dine,  or  eat  the  morsel  which  serves  them 
instead,  at  eleven  or  half  past  eleven  o'clock.  Ecclesiastics, 
some  merchants,  and  respectable  private  families  of  plain  habits, 
take  dinner  at  one.  The  more  fashionable  gentry  observe  in 
common  the  hour  of  four ;  but  when  invitations  are  sent  out,  the 


176  MALTA. 

time  is  fixed  an  hour  or  two  later.  This  sometimes  confuses 
the  evening  arrangements.  I  have  been  asked  to  take  tea 
in  one  family  at  half  past  five,  when  I  was  engaged  at  another 
house  to  join  a  dinner  party,  at  six. 

All  sorts  of  trades  and  occupations  are  conducted  in  the 
streets,  —  tailoring,  coblering,  trunk  making,  basket  weaving 
and  others.  A  shoemaker  at  a  corner  near  my  residence 
has  put  up  a  few  boards  for  a  stall,  and  there  he  works 
the  livelong  day,  a  pattern  of  industry.  His  accommodations 
are  so  contracted  that,  in  drawing  a  stitch,  he  could  not  possibly 
have  space  enough  without  borrowing  room  from  the  street.  At 
another  corner,  by  the  square  of  St  John,  a  barber  has  set  up 
business.  But  if  he  has  the  sign  of  a  shop,  he  has  no  shop  to 
his  sign.  He  works  manfully  in  the  open  air,  and  a  merry  fel- 
low he  is.  With  a  chair,  the  requisite  tools,  and  a  small  looking- 
glass  stuck  against  the  street  wall,  he  is  as  independent  as  any 
knight  of  the  basin.  I  have  frequently  in  passing  admired  his 
dexterity  in  plying  the  razor,  and  enjoyed  his  good  humour ; 
and  have  sometimes  laughed  at  seeing  a  full-bearded  Maltese 
submitting  to  the  operation,  braced  in  the  old  roundabout,  with 
an  attitude  so  prim  and  so  grave,  —  lathered  to  his  eyes,  and  his 
chin  bolstered  on  a  rag  of  a  towel,  —  exhibiting,  to  be  sure,  in 
such  a  place  and  with  all  the  hubbub  about  him,  a  pretty  droll 
figure.  When  the  barber  is  out  of  duty,  he  stands  and  takes  note 
of  the  passengers,  and  if  he  sees,  as  he  often  may,  an  unlucky 
wight  with  a  beard  mal-a-propos,  —  perhaps  a  week's  growth, 
—  he  kindly  intimates  it,  and  invites  the  hermit  if  his  word  should 
be  doubted  to  survey  his  chin  in  the  glass.  He  is  then  sure  of  a 
fee  for  '  mowing.'  Sometimes  he  cracks  his  jokes  upon  a  Turk 
or  a  Moor,  but  then  his  humour  does  not  seem  to  be  equally 
relished. 

I  forgot  to  say  in  my  notes  on  Gibraltar  that  the  old  Spanish 
practice  of  denoting  a  barber's  occupation  by  a  basin  paraded 
at  the  door,  is  still  retained  in  that  place.  One  of  my  first 
wants  was  a  barber,  and  no  sooner  was  I  fixed  in  my  quarters 
than  the  personage  was  called.     He  entered    with  a  visage  as 


I 


A  BARBER  —  BEGGARS.  177 

solemn  as  his  predecessors'  in  the  da)^s  of  Cervantes,  —  bearing 
a  huge  brass  basin  in  one  hand,  and  a  razor  case  in  the  other. 
The  basin,  it  appeared,  was  to  take  the  place  of  a  soap  box  ;  as 
the  lather  was  made  in  it  and  then,  instead  of  being  applied  to  the 
face  with  a  brush,  it  was  rubbed  on  manually.  The  rim  of  the 
bowl  was  made  to  slope  in  on  one  side,  to  fit  it  to  the  neck.  I 
thought  the  preliminaries  would  never  have  ended,  but  these 
once  done,  the  operation  proceeded  with  celerity.  This  detail 
may  not  be  over  and  above  entertaining  ;  but  perhaps  a  know- 
ledge of  the  Spanish  '  quo  modo '  may  furnish  a  useful  hint  to 
those  who  complain  of  dull  razors,  to  take  care  that  they  first 
smooth  the  way  before  trying  their  edge.  On  the  whole  it 
could  be  wished,  that  some  labour-saving  machine  might  be 
invented  to  relieve  us  from  this  most  grievous  ill  to  which 
flesh  is  heir.  The  inventor  of  such  a  facility,  besides  a  patent, 
would  deserve  a  statue  of  bronze. 

But  I  forget  that  I  am  in  Malta,  —  no,  I  cannot  forget  it,  for 
Hook  out  of  my  window  and  there  I  behold  a  wretched  family 
group,  a  mother  and  several  children  all  in  tatters,  —  nay,  with 
scarce  tatters  enough  to  cover  their  nakedness,  —  stretched  on 
the  side  pavement  by  yonder  wall.  The  mother,  —  I  have 
frequently  dropped  a  carlin  into  her  hands,  and  that  heart  must 
be  of  stone  that  would  not  have  done  it,  —  looks  the  image 
of  famine  and  despair.  Why  talk  of  petty  inconveniences  and 
magnify  them  into  troubles,  when  there  is  perfect  misery  ?  Her 
home  is  that  spot  which  she  occupies.  Brighter  days  she  may 
have  seen,  but  they  are  days  which  have  gone  never  to  return. 
For  her  children,  she  can  hope  no  better  lot.  One  is  a  babe 
lying  on  her  withered  arms,  and  another  a  feeble  child,  with 
only  a  thin  cotton  wrapper  about  it,  asleep  on  the  cold,  hard 
pavement !  And  this  is  but  one  of  the  many  pictures  of  distress 
which  meet  me  in  Malta.  I  like  no  better  perhaps  than  Adam, 
Smith,  those  whining  and  melancholy  moralists  of  whom  he 
speaks,  who  with  a  mawkish  sensibility  are  perpetually  crying 
out,  '  Ah,  little  think  the  gay,  licentious  crowd,'  and  who  would 
mar  the  comfort  of  the  deservedly  prosperous,  by  telling  them 
23 


178  MALTA. 

of  the  wretches  in  pining  distress,  needing  the  very  crumbs 
which  fall  from  their  tables.  But  here  is  beggary, — haggard 
beggary,  —  which  meets  the  eye,  the  ear,  the  aching  sympathy  at 
every  turn ;  and  shall  I  expunge  the  record  from  my  page  ?  — 
But  how  shall  the  misery  be  relieved  ?  Alas,  I  know  not.  Indi- 
vidual benevolence  cannot  cure  it.  Howard,  if  he  were  to  walk 
the  streets  of  Malta,  would  find  the  objects  of  his  charity  too  nu- 
merous to  admit  of  their  becoming  all  pensioners  on  his  bounty. 

It  is  some  comfort,  however,  that  the  bestowment  of  even  a 
small  gratuity  may  do  some  good,  at  least  in  prolonging  exist- 
ence. I  have  mentioned  a  coin  current  here,  called  a  grain. 
It  is  a  small  bit  of  copper  stamped  with  Arabic  characters,  and 
in  value  not  quite  equal  to  half  an  English  farthing.  ^^  As  the 
minimum  coin  in  most  other  countries  is  five  times  the  value  of 
this,  —  a  Federal  cent,  British  ha'penny,  French  sous  and  Ro- 
man bioch  being  about  the  same  thing,  —  I  doubted  at  first 
whether  a  grain  strictly  could  be  of  any  worth.  '  What  can  it 
buy  ?'  said  I  to  a  friend  the  other  day.  '  Buy  !'  he  replied, 
*  why  it  can  buy  a  small  bunch  of  onions  ;  it  can  buy  a  mess  of 
salad ;  it  can  buy  an  anchovy ;  and  thus  for  five  of  these  little 
bits  a  meal  may  be  purchased,  enough  at  least  to  satisfy  the 
wants  of  a  temperate  Maltese.  As  for  the  matter  of  thirst,  he 
may  slake  it  gratis  at  any  of  the  public  fountains  or  tanks.' 

The  shifts  which  the  Mahese  resort  to  for  the  means  of  sub- 
sistence, cannot  be  better  perhaps  illustrated  than  in  the  case  of  a 
poor  musician  who  passes  daily  under  my  windows.  He  has 
made  a  bagpipe  of  the  strangest  form  and  materials,  but  for  all 
the  purposes  of  sound,  it  is  as  good  an  instrument  of  the  sort  as 
I  ever  heard.  The  bag  is  the  complete  skin  of  a  large  dog,  ex- 
hibiting —  besides  the  body  —  the  appliances  of  head,  legs  and 
tail  to  boot.  A  bullock's  horn  is  fixed  to  the  mouth,  and  punched 
with  the  requisite  number  of  holes  for  playing.  The  big  end  is 
outwards  and  the  horn  closed  at  that  part.  A  small  pipe  is 
inserted  into  one  of  the  forepaws,  and  with  this  the  performer  fills 
the  machine.  He  carries  the  thing  under  the  left  arm,  belly  up, 
and  so  carefully  has  the  shape  of  the  animal  been  preserved 


AN  ANECDOTE.  179 

that  it  looks  for  all  the  world  like  a  live  dog,  or  a  wild  mountain 
cat,  squeaking  in  new  and  strange  sounds.  The  oddity  of  the 
contrivance  and  the  skill  of  the  musician  are  sure  to  attract  at- 
tention, and  before  the  fellow  has  gone  the  length  of  a  street, 
his  drone  and  his  twang  seldom  fail  of  being  stopped  by  the  toss 
of  a  few  coppers  which  he  hastes  to  pick  up. 

The  Maltese  are  certainly  a  grateful  people.  The  smallest 
gratuity  is  thankfully  received  and  sure  of  being  remembered. 
A  beggar  thus  noticed  will  take  off  his  cap  whenever  his  bene- 
factor passes,  and  ejaculate  a  blessing  upon  his  head.  I  have 
known  them  to  cross  the  street  for  the  sake  of  merely  bowing 
in  acknowledgment  of  some  former  favours,  and  then  moving 
on  without  asking  for  more.  In  both  these  respects,  their  grati- 
tude and  modesty,  they  differ  greatly  from  the  beggars  whom 
I  have  met  with  in  other  countries.  In  London  and  Dublin  the 
cry  is  eternally,  give,  give ;  and  because  you  have  bestowed  to- 
day, the  mendicant  expects  that  you  will  do  a  like  service 
tomorrow,  —  else  you  are  liable  to  be  insuked. 

The  week  of  my  arrival  in  Malta,  returning  one  day  to  my 
lodgings  I  found  a  young  man  in  the  passage  awaiting  my  re- 
turn, and  the  servant  informed  me  that  he  had  been  stationed 
there  a  full  hour.  He  was  dressed  in  a  patched,  threadbare 
suit  of  black.  His  features,  which  were  pallid  and  wan,  had  an 
interesting  and  touching  expression  ;  and  despite  of  the  poverty 
of  his  attire  and  eveiy  disadvantageous  circumstance,  there  was 
something  prepossessing  at  first  sight  in  his  air  and  address.  In 
an  humble  manner  but  with  nothing  of  servility  and  cringe,  he  said 
he  presented  himself  as  an  object  of  charity  and  begged  to  state 
his  case.  I  took  him  into  my  room  and  he  told  the  story  of  his 
wants.  The  substance  of  it  was,  that  he  had  a  sick  mother  and 
two  young  sisters  dependent  on  him  for  support,  that  he  was 
utterly  destitute  of  money  and  employment,  that  with  the  means 
of  being  useful  he  could  find  no  situation  in  which  to  earn  a  bare 
subsistence,  that  he  had  tried  and  tried  in  vain,  and  was  ready 
to  sink  in  despair.  I  found  on  further  inquiry  that  he  was  qual- 
ified to  act  as  clerk  in  a  mercantile  establishment,  having  been 


J  so  MALTA, 

partly  bred  in  an  Italian  compting  house.  His  penmanship  and 
knowledge  of  figures  were  good,  and  besides  the  native  Maltese 
and  English  (which  he  spoke  fluently,)  he  was  conversant  with 
French  and  Italian.  He  gave  me  satisfactory  references, 
and  Vicary  who  was  called  in,  confirmed  his  account,  so  far  at 
least  as  a  partial  knowledge  of  his  character  and  condition  could 
bear  him  out. 

I  told  the  poor  youth  that  as  for  helping  him  to  a  situation  of 
usefulness  in  a  place  where  I  was  myself  a  stranger  was  out  of 
the  question ;  that  as  for  aiding  him  with  alms  I  could  do  but 
little,  and  that  in  bestowing  upon  him  that  litde,  while  there 
were  such  multitudes  of  poor  supplicating  for  a  pittance  at  every 
corner,  he  must  expect  no  more  from  me.  I  then  gave  him  a 
crown  and  he  departed  with  lively  gratitude  depicted  on  his 
countenance,  and  with  assurances  of  thankful  remembrance  of 
the  kindness,  small  as  it  was,  which  he  had  received. 

I  saw  no  more  of  him  till  a  day  or  two  since,  when  walking 
along  Strada  Reale  a  person  was  observed  breaking  eagerly 
through  the  crowd  on  the  opposite  foot-pavement,  and  who 
darted  across  the  street  a  little  in  advance  of  me.  On  reach- 
ing the  side  walk  he  stepped  two  or  three  paces  ahead  and 
then  siiddenlyturned,  took  off  his  hat  and  made  a  profound  bow, 
with  the  usual  saiutafions  of  the  morning.  I  did  not  till  then  re- 
cognise in  the  figure  the  young  man  I  had  so  triflingly  befriended, 
in  the  manner  already  related.  Without  further  pausing,  he 
instantly  stepped  into  the  groups  which  were  behind,  and  on  my 
turning  to  look  for  him  he  was  gone. 

I  could  mention  other  characteristic  incidents,  but  I  forbear. 
I  repeat,  that  I  have  known  something  of  beggars  elsewhere, 
for  I  have  seen  them  in  many  cities.  But  if  I  have  come  to 
Malta  to  know  what  poverty  truly  is,  I  have  also  learned  here  that 
gratitude  can  reside  in  the  bosom  of  the  humblest  mendicant. 


CHAPTER  VII 


MALTA, 


Commodore  Rodgers.  —  Condition  of  the  North  Carolina.  — Sentiments  in  Malta. 

—  Sir  H.  Neale's  Reply  to  Mr  Shaler.  —  Policy  towards  the    Barbary  Powers. 

—  Departure  of  the  (Commodore.  —  St  John's  Cathedral.  —  Relic  of  the 
Saint. —  Ceremonies  in  the  Days  of  the  Knights.  —  Tomb  of  La  Valette.  — 
Churches;  Greek,  Catholic  and  Protestant.  —  Malta,  Uhe  Eye  of  the  Medi- 
terranean.'—  Government  Library. — Missionary  Presses  ;  LabourS;  Difficul- 
ties, Prospects.  —  St  Paul's  Bay.  —  Vipers.  —  Citta  Vecchia.  —  Singular 
Grotto.  —  Extraordinary  Catacombs.  —  Distribution  of  the  Maltese  Popula- 
tion.—  Project  of  Mulberry  Plantations.  —  Geology  of  the  Island.  —  Ancient 
Inundation. — Culture  of  the  Fig.  —  Caprification,  —  Treading  the  Wine 
Press. 

La  Valetta  ;  Feb,  16.  —  Understanding  it  was  the  inten- 
tion of  Commodore  Rodgers  to  set  sail  tomorrow,  and  no  longer 
submit  to  the  rigors  of  a  quarantine  the  reasons  of  which  could 
not  approve  themselves  to  his  mind,  I  crossed  to  the  Barrier,  to 
present  him  my  salutations  on  leavetaking.  I  had  the  pleasure 
of  meeting  another  of  our  brave  officers.  Captain  Perry,  who 
has  the  immediate  command  of  the  flag  ship.  ^"^ 

The  interview  took  place  in  the  private  office  of  the  Parla- 
torio,  and  as  there  were  no  eavesdroppers  to  catch  up  and  whis- 
per the  conversation  in  the  ears  of  '  the  Philistines,'  the  topics 
which  arose  were  various  and  were  discussed  with  freedom. 
Malta,  its  condition  and  government  —  England,  its  cabinet  and 
policy  —  France  and  Russia — Turkey  and  the  Grand  Seignor 

—  Greece,  its  struggle  and  prospects  —  Spain  and  Minorca  — 
Barbary  and  Shaler's  Sketches  —  Cruise  in   the  Archipelago 

—  Troy  and  the  Scamander,  —  these  were  among  the  subjects 
on  which  remarks  were  elicited. 


182  MALTA. 

As  it  is  not  my  province  to  record  a  conversation  which  oc- 
curred under  such  circumstances,  I  shall  only  advert  to  one 
topic  which  could  not  be  overlooked,  namely,  the  quarantining 
of  the  North  Carolina.  And  I  refer  to  it  for  the  sake  of  saying 
that  I  should  be  doing  injustice  to  Commodore  Rodgers  and 
such  of  his  officers  with  whom  I  have  conversed,  were  I  to  inti- 
mate the  opinion  as  theirs,  that  up  to  the  last  there  had  been 
wanting  any  demonstrations  of  respect  and  courtesy  towards 
themselves  personally,  which  might  naturally  be  expected  from 
the  British  admiral  and  military  commandant  at  Malta.  But 
having  said  this,  I  am  not  conscious  of  overstepping  the  limits  of 
discretion,  certainly  not  of  truth,  when  I  add  that  they  regarded, 
(wherever  the  fault  lay,)  the  indefinite  detention  of  the  North 
Carolina  in  close  quarantine  as  unreasonable  and  illiberal.  From 
the  time  when  the  sick  were  removed  to  the  Lazaretto,  the 
remainder  of  the  officers  and  crew,  constituting  the  great  body 
of  the  entire  complement,  enjoyed  perfect  health.  The 
invalids,  with  the  exception  of  the  four  or  five  who  died  of 
small  pox,  became  speedily  convalescent ;  yet  they  were  not 
taken  on  board,  that  there  might  be  no  plausible  objections  from 
that  quarter  against  the  ship's  receiving  pratique.  Still  the  opin- 
ion of  the  Faculty  on  shore  opposed  the  concession  of  this 
measure,  and  the  British  naval  and  military  chiefs  affected  to 
lament  that  decision  and  their  want  of  power  to  annul  it. 

I  state  it  then  on  other  responsibility,  but  from  evidence  which 
may  be  relied  on,  that  the  English  authorities  in  Malta  have  not 
wished  to  allow  pratique  to  the  United  States'  flag-ship.  They 
have  been  glad  of  pretexts  to  evade  that  grant ;  they  did  not 
relish  her  appearance  at  first  in  the  waters  of  La  Valetta,  and 
are  pleased  that  the  order  has  now  gone  forth  from  her  com- 
mander that  her  anchor  be  weighed  on  the  morrow.  That  state- 
ly ship  which  has  gleamed  like  a  meteor  upon  their  eyes,  can 
be  no  welcome  spectacle.  The  proud  strain  of*  Hail  Colum- 
bia '  is  no  music  to  their  ears ;  neither  can  they  discern  any 
beauty  in  the  '  stars  and  stripes '  floating  above  a  ship  of  such 
formidable  armament. 


THE  NORTH  CAROLENA.  183 

Nor  by  this  would  I  be  understood  as  recalling  what  has  been 
said  on  a  former  page  that  a  general  desire  prevails  in  Malta  that 
the  North  Carolina  should  be  liberated  from  quarantine.  The 
mass  of  the  inhabitants  earnestly  wish  it.  They  gaze  on  the 
noble  ship  with  undiminished  interest,  and  all  indeed,  though 
with  different  motives,  scrutinize  it  as  they  would  the  apparition 
of  Leviathan. 

That  America  is  not  without  a  voice  in  Malta  may  be  inferred 
from  an  anecdote  which  I  give  as  I  received  it.  The  incident 
took  place  a  few  days  before  my  arrival,  but  it  was  reported  to 
me  by  an  ear  witness  whose  character  is  an  ample  voucher. 

When  the  President's  Message  was  received  here,  it  produced 
a  stir  similar  to  that  which  it  occasioned  at  Gibraltar.  The  talk 
was  at  once  of  war ;  the  possible  was  interpreted  into  the  prob- 
able, and  the  knowing  ones  said  that  war  it  would  be.  A  Mal- 
tese gentleman,  distinguished  for  independence  of  sentiment, 
and  whose  acquaintance  I  have  lately  had  the  pleasure  of  form- 
ing, was  entertaining  a  party  at  dinner.  Of  the  guests  were 
several  British  naval  officers,  and  in  the  course  of  conversation 
the  popular  theme  of  war  with  the  United  States  was  brought 
up.  It  happened  that  the  North  Carolina  arrived  the  day  pre- 
ceding, and  of  course  was  then  lying  under  the  guns  of  the 
numerous  batteries  ^ which  surround  and  defend  the  harbour. 
'  Ah,  that  Yankee,'  said  an  officer,  '  that  ship,  —  and  a  grand 
one  she  is,  —  is  ours.'  '  Yes,'  cried  another,  '  she  cannot  escape 
us.  If  war  there  is,  as  war  there  will  be,  we  have  her.  We 
will  rig  her  flags  after  a  different  pattern.'  '  No,  gentlemen,' 
said  the  host, '  that  ship  is  not  yours,  and  she  never  will  be 
yours  even  in  the  event  you  anticipate.  I  know  the  spirit  of  Com- 
modore Rodgers,  and  of  his  officers  and  crew ;  and  you  ought  to 
know  it  full  well  ere  you  hazard  what  you  say.  If  there  be  war, 
escape,  I  grant,  is  impossible  from  under  the  guns  of  these  for- 
tresses and  the  shipping  in  the  waters.  But  neither  officers  nor 
men  would  surrender  their  charge.  They  would  fight  to  the 
last  gasp  and  upon  the  last  plank ;  and  sooner   than  the  North 


184  MALTA. 

Carolina  should  fall  into  British  hands,  the  commodore  would 
blow  up  his  ship.' 

The  brave  defenders  of  my  country's  flag  need  not  be  re- 
minded that  such  are  the  sentiments  entertained  of  them,  more- 
over, by  a  large  class  of  foreigners.  It  remains  for  them  to 
make  good  in  another  struggle,  —  if  it  must  come,  but  which 
may  God  avert,  —  their  reputation  for  valour.  It  is  not  doubted 
that  they  will  then  justify  the  confidence  of  the  Republic.  ^^ 

A  day  or  two  since,  I  obtained  a  copy  of  Sir  Harry  Neale's 
Reply  to  the  strictures  on  the  admiral's  conduct  before  Algiers 
contained  in  Mr  Shaler's  Sketches  of  that  Regency.  I  was 
curious  to  know  how  far  the  charges  could  be  rebutted  and  dis- 
proved. The  Reply,  though  printed,  has  not  been  published. 
Five  hundred  copies  were  struck  off  for  gratuitous  distribution 
among  the  admiral's  friends,  one  of  whom  made  over  his  pam- 
phlet to  me.  It  is  a  meagre  thing  of  only  thirty  pages,  printed 
in  large,  loose  type,  each  page  arranged  with  parallel  columns,  — 
one  containing  extracts  from  Mr  Shaler's  work,  the  other  a  run- 
ning commentary  by  the  respondent.  The  title  should  be  Con- 
tradiction, and  not  '  Reply,'  for  it  offers  no  disproof  of  the  most 
material  statements  of  the  American  consul.  It  is  true,  it  pre- 
sents some  measures,  which  Mr  Shaler  misunderstood  in  a  new 
light,  and  so  far  may  vindicate  the  admiral  personally,  but  it  still 
leaves  the  shuffling  policy  and  vacillating  instructions  of  the 
British  Cabinet,  under  which  he  acted,  in  the  same  strange  and 
awkward  predicament  as  before.  The  blame  is  only  shifted 
and  thrown  a  little  farther  back.  That  the  British  admiral  had 
the  power  of  battering  Algiers  in  1824,  as  successfully  as  it  was 
done  by  Lord  Exmouth  eight  years  before,  is  not  to  be  doubted ; 
for  if  Algiers  was  stronger,  so  the  force  which  he  could  apply  was 
proportionably  adequate.  But  it  did  not  suit  the  policy  of  Eng- 
land to  root  out,  in  either  case,  that  nest  of  pirates.  She  wished, 
undoubtedly,  to  overawe  Algiers  and  obtain  respect  for  herself  as 
the  most  formidable  of  maritime  nations ;  but  if  this  could  be  effect- 
ed by  negotiation  or  fanfaronade,  the  course  was  deemed  prefera- 
ble, not  from  motives  of  humanity,  but  to  keep  up  apiratical  power 


SIR  H.  NEALE— MR  SHALER.  185 

whose  corsairs,  by  plundering  the  commerce  of  smaller  states, 
might  leave  the  carrying  trade  of  the  Mediterranean  as  much  as 
possible  in  the  hands  of  the  English.  This  was  the  secret  cause 
\vhy  the  government  did  not  follow  up  the  brilliant  coup  de  main 
of  Exmouth  in  1816,  by  utterly  and  forever  annihilating  the 
power  of  the  Dey  ;  and  not  a  doubt  exists  that  the  present  ad- 
miral, though  a  gallant  and  efficient  officer,  was  hampered  by 
his  instructions  so  far  as  to  oblige  him  to  act  a  part  before  Al- 
giers which  his  soul  must  have  scorned,  and  which  some  would 
misinterpret  into  pusillanimity. 

I  confess  that  the  strictures  of  Mr  Shaler,  considering  his  offi- 
cial station,  appear  to  have  been  somewhat  imprudent,  and  devoid 
of  that  bienseance  which  might  be  looked  for  from  such  a  quarter. 
But  bating  this,  —  that  his  book  possesses  great  merit,  and  that  he 
proved  himself  vigilant,  talented  and  intrepid  in  the  office  he  filled 
at  the  Regency  of  Algiers,  cannot  be  denied.  Yet  it  is  amusing 
to  mark  the  force  of  prejudice,  stimulated  by  wounded  pride,  in 
the  closing  paragraph  of  the  admiral's  Reply.  '  I  sincerely 
regret,'  says  he,  '  that  Mr  Shaler  has  compelled  me  to  part  with 
my  opinion  of  him  as  a  plain,  well  meaning  man.  His  Journal 
can  have  few  readers  who  will  not  allow  that,  slender  as  is  the 
ability  which  its  composition  displays,  he  has  been  equally  in- 
cautious of  giving  currency  to  false  information,  careless  of  in- 
vestigating truth,  and  profuse  in  his  own  praise  !' 

However  lamentable  Mr  Shaler  may  regard  the  loss  of  Sir 
Harry's  good  opinion,  he  may  console  himself  with  the  reflection 
of  having  written  the  best  work  on  Algiers  which  has  appeared 
since  the  days  of  Shaw  ;  and  that  the  favourable  estimate  which 
the  American  public  have  formed  of  it,  has  been  borne  out  by 
the  voice  of  all  unprejudiced,  intelligent  foreigners.  ^^ 

As  respects  the  sinister  policy  of  England  in  tolerating  so 
long,  nay,  and  indirectly  upholding  the  predatory  hordes  of  Bar- 
bary,  it  can  be  contemplated  at  this  day  by  Americans  as  no 
cause  of  regret  in  its  results  to  them,  nationally  considered.  In 
self-defence,  they  were  obliged  to  build  and  equip  naval  arma- 
ments, the  foundation  of  that  marine  which  covered  itself  with 
24 


186  MALTA. 

glory  in  the  second  war  with  Britain.  The  Mediterranean  was 
the  field  of  some  of  its  earliest  feats  of  prowess.  It  was  here 
that  the  strength  of  the  infant  Hercules  was  tried,  and  here  it 
has  continued  to  be  nursed.  The  Eagle  of  the  Republic,  (to 
vary  the  metaphor,)  was  young,  —  it  was  scarce  twenty  years 
old,  —  when  it  spread  its  vigorous  wing  over  the  gallant  Preble 
in  his  positions  before  Tangiers  and  Tripoli.  Nor  does  history 
record  a  more  splendid  deed  of  valour  than  that  of  Decatur 
under  the  walls  of  the  latter,  in  1804.  As  for  Preble,  his  merit 
was  s^  conspicuous  in  the  eyes  of  Europe,  that  the  Pope 
(whose  opinion  must  be  deemed  canonical,)  declared,  that '  he 
did  more  towards  humbling  these  barbarians  than  all  the  states 
of  Europe  had  then  ever  done.'  ^^ 

When  peace^  with  England,  in  1815,  allowed  the  United 
States  to  turn  their  attention  to  another  and  the  strongest  of  those 
ferocious  powers,  —  a  power  which,  in  violation  of  treaties  and 
every  principle  of  magnanimity  as  well  as  justice,  had  been 
warring,  while  the  greater  struggle  was  pending,  against  the  com- 
merce of  our  people,  —  no  time  was  lost  in  instituting  summary 
measures  of  redress.  A  squadron  was  detached  which,  '  as  the 
wing  of  the  whirlwind  swift,'  sped  to  Algiers.  It  entered  the 
harbour  bearing  the  trophies  of  the  Barbarian  admiral's  flag- 
ship, which  it  had  captured  in  its  passage.  Peace  w^as  dictated 
on  the  terms  of  indemnity  for  past  spoliations,  manumission  of 
captives,  including  a  Neapolitan  crew  then  held  in  bondage,  — 
final  relinquishment  of  all  claims  for  future  tribute,  and  the  land- 
ing a  consul  under  the  guns  of  the  squadron,  who  has  remained 
not  only  unmolested  but  distinguished  by  the  peculiar  deference 
of  the  Dey.  It  cannot  be  doubted  that  this  decisive  measure 
shamed  the  British  ministry  into  the  hostile  attitude  followed  up 
by  the  bold  stroke  of  Exmouth  on  Algiers,  in  the  following  year ; 
but  they  then  looked  on  with  complacency  as  they  saw  the  de- 
fences of  the  Regency  rising  up  with  augmented  strength,  in  the 
vain  hope  that  Algiers,  renewed  like  a  Phenix,  would  one  day 
cope  with  successfully,  and  humble,  if  not  destroy,  the  Trans- 
Atlantic  marine. 


ST  JOHN'S  CATHEDRAL.  187 

Feb.  17.  —  The  North  Carolina  sailed  today.  At  the  hour  of 
nine,  when  the  colours  of  the  ship  were  lifted  with  usual  honours, 
her  anchor  was  weighed,  her  canvas  spread,  and  with  a  fair 
breeze  she  wafted  from  the  harbour.  Her  topsails  were  backed 
in  the  offing  while  her  barges  put  out  to  take  the  invalids  from 
the  Lazaretto  ;  but  these  being  received  on  board,  every  sail  was 
again  stretched  ;  and,  —  like  the  flight  of  the  proud  bird  whose 
emblem  she  carried,  —  she  bore  away  on  strong  pinion,  and  soon 
faded  on  the  distant  blue  main. 

1  turn  to  the  reminiscence  of  a  fallen  line  of  heroes,  —  from 
the  people  of  today,  to  a  people  who  are  past;  —  and  let  us  enter 
a  structure  which  entombs  their  ashes,  and  commemorates  alike 
their  piety  and  their  renown. 

St  John's  is  the  Westminster  Abbey  of  Malta.  Its  venerable 
towers  are  coeval  with  the  walls  of  La  Valetta.  The  temple 
was  formerly  enriched  by  the  princely  offerings  of  the  sovereigns 
and  grand  priors  of  the  Order,  which  were  statedly  made  every 
period  of  five  years;  and  the  floor  where  successive  generations 
of  heroes  have  knelt  in  worship,  now  covers  the  sepulchres 
where  they  sleep  and  will  rest  until  the  heavens  be  no  more. 
'  The  paths  of  glory  lead  but  to  the  grave.' 

Often  as  I  have  visited  this  church,  (for  its  entrance  is  never 
closed),  and  at  times  I  have  found  my  steps  tending  insensibly 
thither,  —  yes,  often  as  I  have  visited  it,  the  threshold  is 
crossed  with  undiminished  veneration,  and  the  emotions 
awakened  in  my  bosom  are  always  deep  and  solemn. 

The  interior  arrangements  of  the  church  remain  substantially 
the  same  as  in  the  days  of  the  Order.  A  separate  chapel  was 
originally  assigned  to  every  Language.  These  form  the  two 
aisles  which  line  a  spacious  nave.  Their  numerous  carved  or- 
naments, gilded  with  sequin  gold,  attest  the  munificence  of  the 
Grand  Master  Cotoner.  The  church  is  rich  in  pictures,  par- 
ticularly frescos,  painted  by  the  Calabrian  artist,  Matthias  Preti. 
Every  compartment  of  the  roof  between  the  pillars  of  the  re- 
spective chapels  is  thus  ornamented  ;  the  subjects  representing 
the  different  events  in  the  life  of  St  John. 


188  MALTA. 

The  principal  altar  is  placed  at  a  distance  from  all  the  others 
in  the  middle  of  the  choir ;  at  the  further  end  of  which,  is  a 
group  in  marble  upon  a  raised  basis,  representing  our  Saviour 
baptised  by  St  John. 

There  is  a  chapel  dedicated  to  the  Virgin,  which,  before  the 
capitulation  of  Malta  to  the  French,  contained  two  ex  votos  of 
immense  value,  and  was  lighted  by  a  golden  lamp  fastened  to 
the  roof  by  a  long  chain  of  the  same  metal.  There  were  also 
many  different  articles  in  the  treasury  of  the  church,  not  only 
extremely  valuable,  but  of  great  antiquity  and  rare  workmanship. 
None  of  these,  however,  were  spared  by  the  French,  who,  from 
the  first  of  their  arrival,  are  said  to  have  begun  to  carry  away 
during  the  night  everything  made  of  gold  and  silver,  in  order  to 
convert  the  plunder  into  ingots. 

The  spoils  of  St  John's  availed  them  no  better  than  the  riches 
of  the  Kremlin.  They  were  put  on  board  the  L'Orient,  which 
was  afterwards  blown  up  in  the  memorable  batde  of  the  Nile. 

A  profanation,  the  most  grievous  in  the  eyes  of  the  Maltese, 
was  committed  by  the  French  in  stripping  a  venerable  relic  — 
no  less  than  the  hand  of  St  John  —  of  all  its  costly  ornaments 
of  gems  and  gold.  The  hand  itself  was  detained  awhile  by  the 
captors,  but  as  it  did  not  possess  the  same  value  in  their  eyes  as 
it  held  in  the  estiinadon  of  the  Knights  Hospitallers,  it  was  re- 
stored in  a  most  forlorn  condition,  in  consideration  of  the  tears 
and  entreaties  of  Hompesch,  the  last  grand  master.  The  story 
of  the  curious  relic  is  this  : 

The  Emperor  J\istinian,  finding  the  hand  deposited  in  a  church 
at  Antioch,  caused  it  fo  be  removed  to  Constantinople,  and 
placed  it  in  a  church  which  he  built  there  at  great  expense.  After 
the  fall  of  Constantinople,  the  relic  was  religiously  preserved  by 
the  Sultan  Mahomet  II.,  and  transmitted  to  his  successors. 
When  Bajazet  mounted  the  throne,  trembling  for  his  newly- 
acquired  possessions,  he  sought  the  friendship  of  D'Aubusson, 
then  grand  master  of  Rhodes,  who  had  become  famous  in  the 
preceding  reign  by  a  signal  victory  obtained  over  the  infidels. 
To  insure  his  esteem,  the   Sultan  naturally  thought  that  a  more 


ANCIENT  SOLEMNITIES.  189 

acceptable  present  could  not  be  tendered  than  the  hand  of  the 
Saint  from  whom  the  Order  was  named  j  particularly,  as  the 
relic  had  been  refused  to  the  magnificent  overtures  of  several 
Christian  princes.  D'Aubusson  received  the  gift  with  becoming 
gratitude.  It  was  carried  by  his  successors  from  Rhodes,  and 
is  still  deposited  in  a  little  coffer  within  an  oratory  of  the  church 
of  St  John. 

If  the  French  plundered  St  John's  of  its  portable  treasures, 
they  could  not,  as  already  intimated,  dismantle  its  walls  of  its 
more  striking  embellishments,  and  the  effect  they  produce  in 
combination  with  the  associations  of  the  place,  is  certainly  very 
grand.  The  pavement  of  the  church  is  not  its  least  ornament* 
It  is  a  species  of  Mosaic,  inlaid  with  sepulchral  marbles  of  dif- 
ferent colours.  The  armorial  emblems  of  the  warriors  who  now 
rest  below,  are  exhibited  by  means  of  these  variegated  stones. 
Some  of  the  monumental  tablets  were  encrusted  with  jasper  and 
agate,  and  all  of  them  have  a  rich  and  costly  look. 

Imagination  goes  back,  and  recalls  the  descriptions  which 
have  been  given  of  the  pompous  ceremonies  observed  in  this 
church,  in  the  days  of  its  glory.  On  great  religious  celebrations, 
the  Grand  Master  was  seated  under  a  gorgeous  canopy  in  a 
sanctuary  next  the  Evangelist ;  the  grand  crosses  were  placed 
on  forms  below  and  near  the  communion  table.  The  knights, 
and  others  attached  to  the  service  of  the  Order,  were  stationed 
along  the  sides  of  the  church;  and  the  central  area  was  kept  open, 
adding  inexpressibly  to  the  effect  of  the  entire  arrangement. 
The  prior  of  St  John's  was  seen  ministering  at  such  times  in 
splendid  episcopal  robes,  and  while  occupied  at  the  altar,  an 
official  was  employed  in  refreshing  him  by  means  of  a  magnifi- 
cent feathered  fan,  the  handle  of  which  was  of  burnished  gold. 

The  most  august  religious  service  was  that  annually  observed 
at  the  era  of  raising  the  great  siege  of  Malta.  The  victorious 
standard  was  then  carried  with  profound  respect  to  the  foot  of 
the  altar.  It  was  borne  by  a  knight,  clad  in  a  habit  and  helmet 
of  the  form  of  those  worn  in  the  crusades  of  old.  On  his  left 
hand  marched  a  page,  holding  the  precious  sword  and  poignard 


190 


MALTA. 


presented  by  Philip  II.  of  Spain  to  La  Valette,  as  a  tribute  to 
his  sublime  heroism  ;  and  on  the  right  moved  the  marshal,  ac- 
companied by  the  whole  Language  of  Auvergne,  to  whose 
knights  the  grand  standard  was  particularly  confided.  This 
ceremony  was  announced  by  warlike  music,  and  a  discharge 
of  artillery  from  all  the  different  forts. 

But  those  days  of  solemn  commemoration  are  past.  The 
chivalry  of  St  John's  lies  buried  beneath  this  hallowed  fane.  Its 
walls  no  longer  echo  to  their  choral  anthems  in  honour  of  the 
God  of  Victories.  '  Ichabod '  —  the  glory  departed,  —  is  written 
on  every  stone  of  the  consecrated  pavement. 

I  went  dovvn  to  their  tombs.  In  a  part  of  the  vaults,  I  entered 
a  dim  chamber  where  the  remains  are  deposited  of  six  or  eight 
of  their  most  renowned  grand  masters.  As  I  ranged  along  the 
crypts  I  sought  particularly  the  sepulchre  of  John  La  Valette. 
He  reposes  in  a  niche  within  a  recess  of  the  wall,  his  coffin 
being  enclosed  in  a  marble  soros. 

I  was  alone,  —  and  what  a  spot  for  solemn  reflection! 
Around,  slept  others  not  so  famed  indeed  as  that  victor  chief, 
but  who,  while  living,  had  sent  their  names  through  Christendom, 
and  the  dread  of  those  names  throughout  the  territories  visited 
by  the  pale,  the  sickly,  the  deathly  beams  of  the  crescent.  How 
still  their  repose  —  hushed  as  the  foot  of  night !  Their  weapons 
of  war  are  perished,  or  preserved  to  be  gazed  upon  with  vacant 
wonder  by  men,  themselves  shadows,  and  hastening  to  the  same 
fatal  valley. 

And  this  is  the  end  of  man,  —  his  pride,  and  his  glory.  The 
very  edifices  those  heroic  hands  assisted  to  uprear,  —  *  the 
cloud-capt  towers,  the  gorgeous  palaces,  the  solemn  temples,' 
—  structures  w4iich  haply  they  deemed  were  to  outstand  the  tide 
of  ages,  and  be  monuments  of  their  fame  till  time  should  expire 
with  the  world,  —  these  too  are  falling  back  to  dust.  What 
lessons  do  they  read  of  the  littleness  of  man  in  all  his  pomp, 
and  the  ephemeral  duration  of  human  agencies !  These  gallant 
spirits,  once  peerless  in  '  battle  and  trial  of  the  sword,'  —  what 


M^ifMN     !L.a    V:\hKr-\ 


GREEK  RITES.  191 

avails  their  fame,  deathless  though  it  be  ?    The  Christian  asks? 
Have  they  obtained  the  palm  as  'good  soldiers'  of  the  Cross  • 

Sons  of  the  morning  !  whither  are  ye  gone  ? 
Where  have  ye  hid  your  many-spangled  heads, 
And  the  majestic  menace  of  your  eyes 

Felt  from  afar  ? 

And  again ; 

Tell  us,  ye  dead  ;  will  none  of  you  in  pity 

To  those  you  left  behind  disclose  the  secret  ? 

Oh  that  some  courteous  ghost  would  blab  it  out. 

What  'tis  you  are  and  we  must  shortly  be  ! 

*       *       *       *       *       Do  the  strict  laws 

Of  your  Society  forbid  your  speaking 

Upon  a  point  so  nice  ?    I'll  ask  no  more  : 

Sullen  like  lamps  in  sepulchres,  your  shine 

Enlightens  but  yourselves.     Well  —  'tis  no  matter ; 

A  very  little  time  will  clear  up  all. 

And  make  us  learn'd  as  ye  are,  and  as  close.    41 

Feh.  1 8. — This  being  Sunday,  I  looked  into  several  churches. 
I  went  with  no  captious  spirit ;  for  piety,  where  observed,  I  can 
respect  under  whatever  form  or  name ;  and  my  devotions  I  can 
offer  as  fervently  in  a  Catholic,  as  in  a  Protestant  temple. 

These  remarks  are  premised  to  screen  from  uncharitableness 
a  part  of  the  observations  which  follow,  founded  upon  matters 
which  forced  themselves  on  my  attention.  In  the  words  of  that 
Book  which  every  sect  professes  to  revere,  • —  '  I  cannot  but 
speak  the  things  which  I  have  seen  and  heard.' 

I  went  first,  early  in  the  morning,  to  the  Greek  Church. 
The  members  of  that  communion  refuse  fellowship  with  Cath- 
olics, whom  they  scruple  not  to  consider  as  idolaters ;  for, 
whereas,  the  Catholics  have  images  in  their  churches  and  set 
them  up  at  the  corners  of  streets  and  pray  to  them,  the  Greek 
schismatics  abjure  such  objects,  and  confine  their  veneration  to 
pictures.  I  was  desirous  of  seeing  and  comparing  differences 
for  myself. 

In  the  Greek  Church  images  there  were  none,  but  pictures 
there  were  some,  and  crosses  in  sufficiency,  and  incense  in 
clouds.    Literally,  the  smoke  of  the  incense  was  seen  issuing 


192  MALTA. 

from  the  doors,  and  the  smell  of  it  I  perceived  several  yards 
from  the  entrance.  There  were  but  few  devotees  present. 
Some  Greeks,  distinguished  by  full  mustachios  and  flowing  beards, 
knelt  upon  the  pavement.  I  staid  some  time,  but  all  that  the 
priest  did  the  while  was  a  mere  dumb  show,  a  sort  of  devout 
pantomime.  He  conmienced  with  crossing  himself  and  kneel- 
ing several  times  at  the  altar.  He  then  came  and  bowed  before 
the  people,  whispering  something,  but  nothing  audible  reached 
my  ear.  After  an  interval,  he  withdrew  a  crimson  cloth  from  a 
recess,  constructed  like  the  ark  in  synagogues,  and  an  illuminated 
book  was  displayed.  Before  this  he  bowed  and  knelt,  and 
knelt  and  bowed ;  then  took  from  a  page  in  waiting  a  censer, 
into  which  he  put  fresh  frankincense,  and  threw  the  vase  from 
side  to  side,  pausing  occasionally  to  perfume  with  it  the  volume. 
And  this  was  all.  The  people  continued  meanwhile  in  a  kneel- 
ing posture,  and  I  hope  had  grace  in  their  souls.  Certainly  it 
was  not  in  the  service.  I  endured  the  mummery  as  long  as  I 
could,  and  softly  withdrew. 

A  thought  occurs  to  me  :  —  Prythee,  Greek,  explain  the  dif- 
ference between  worshipping  statues  and  the  veneration  thou 
ofFerest  to  pictures  ?  The  same  Law  which  says,  '  Thou  shalt  not 
make  any  graven  image,''  adds,  '  nor  any  likeness  of  anything 
in  Heaven  above,  or  on  the  earth  beneath.' 

From  the  Greek  I  went  to  a  Catholic  Church,  the  Dominican. 
There  were  about  two  hundred  women,  young  and  old,  kneeling 
on  the  area,  all  clad  in  the  invariable  black  dress  of  skirt  and  scarf, 
looking  devotion.  But  neither  the  attitude,  place,  nor  hour  pre- 
vented the  most  from  turning  their  heads,  and  from  beneath  their 
oveYshadowm^  faldeitas  eyeing  each  in-comer.  Of  males,  there 
were  from  twenty  to  thirty. 

A  priest  was  standing  at  the  altar,  and  like  his  Samaritan 
neighbour  across  the  way,  knelt  repeatedly  before  it.  Occasion- 
ally he  made  a  genuflexion  before  an  image  of  the  Saviour,  or 
kissed  a  crucifix  which  he  held,  or  signed  himself  with  the  cross 
on  the  breast  and  forehead,  or  chanted  something  with  a 
nasal  drawl  from  a  missal  before  him.     And  this  too  was  all  of 


,CATHOLIC  CONFESSIONAL.  193 

Ms  services.  He  was  splendidly  robed,  it  is  true ;  and  around 
him  were  tapers  burning,  and  the  building  itself,  a  very  fine  one? 
was  well  calculated  to  be  a  House  of  Prayer.  But  where  was 
the  worship  ?  A  few  of  the  women  were  telling  their  beads,  and 
if  they  muttered  their  prayers,  as  probably  they  did,  what 
meaning,  can  it  be  supposed,  they  attached  to  the  Latin  of  a 
Pater  Noster  or  Ave  Maria?  ^^ 

In  a  part  of  the  church  another  priest  occupied  a  confession 
box.  A  young  woman  was  whispering  in  his  ear  through  the 
grate.  On  the  other  side  of  the  confessional  were  three  other 
females  kneeling,  and  waiting  for  their  respective  turns  at  the 
box.  As  I  looked  at  them,  I  saw  in  each,  despite  of  their 
demure  looks,  an  archness  of  the  eye  and  a  certain  turn  about 
the  corners  of  the  mouth,  which  told  pretty  plainly  the  value  of 
their  penitence.  I  verily  believe  that  the  priest  himself  was 
ashamed  to  be  seen  playing  the  farce  he  was  enacting.  For  in 
the  first  place,  he  had  a  look  which  belied  all  seriousness,  and  in 
the  next,  when  1  directed  my  eyes  a  second  time  to  the  box,  I 
met  his,  which  he  immediately  averted,  and  covering  his  face 
with  his  mantle,  pretended  to  be  listening  to  the  confession  of 
the  fair  penitent.  But  as  often  as  I  subsequently  stole  a  glance 
in  that  direction,  I  found  if  his  ear  was  open  on  the  one  side, 
his  eye  was  turned  to  another,  looking  at  the  protestant,  not 
simply  with  an  expression  of  curiosity  in  surveying  a  foreigner, 
but  as  though  he  were  essaying  to  read  his  thoughts  on  things 
around,  and  already  suspected  them  in  relation  to  the  auricular 
ceremony.  Certainly,  if  the  priest  wished  to  recommend  to 
respect  the  office  wherein  he  was  engaged,  he  could  not  have 
taken  a  less  likely  course. 

And  this  is  the  religion — the  Greek  and  Catholic — ofnineteen- 
twentieths  of  the  population  of  Malta.  What  is  its  influence  out 
of  church  on  the  people  ?  A  New  Englander,  were  he  to  land 
here  today,  could  he  by  any  means  forget  that  this  is  the  Chris- 
tian sabbath,  would  not  be  corrected  and  set  right  by  what  he 
would  witness.  He  would  not  even  suspect  that  it  is  Sunday. 
The  churches  are  open,  but  so  they  are  on  every  day  of  the  week. 
25 


194  MALTA. 

A  few  shops  are  closed,  but  the  doors  of  a  vast  many  more^are 
spread  wide,  and  their  windows  are  stuffed  as  usual.  The 
poorer  people  are  going  about  the  streets  crying  wares,  water 
and  fruit  for  sale.  The  market  is  supplied  with  fish,  flesh  and 
garden  stuffs,  and  is  frequented  by  purchasers  as  on  other  days. 
Children  are  playing  abroad.  Porters  in  their  daily  apparel 
wait  at  the  corners  of  the  streets  to  take  burdens,  or  other  com- 
missions, which  may  offer  ;  and  watermen  are  plying  their  skiffs 
in  the  harbor  and  inlets. 

A  portion  of  the  populace,  it  is  true,  are  better  clad  than  at 
other  seasons.  Many  of  the  men  shave  on  this  day,  and  if  they 
have  clean  shirts  they  wear  them.  The  females,  too,  for  the 
most  part,  look  neater.  They  are  careful  to  put  on  clean  cotton 
hose,  and  to  lace  their  ankles  with  plenty  of  black  ribband,  so 
that  when  kneeling,  that  part  of  their  persons  may  show  to  best 
advantage.  For  it  should  be  noted,  that  though  their  large, 
dark  mantles  are  sufficient  when  they  kneel  to  cover  their  per- 
sons, the  foot  and  ankle,  especially  of  the  younger  ones,  in  gen- 
eral contrive  to  play  truant,  and  peep  out  from  under  the  invi- 
dious vesture. — While  I  am  writing,  a  bagpiper  is  passing  by, 
tuning  his  airs,  and  followed  by  a  motley  crowd  of  idlers.  He 
is  the  same  whose  ingenuity  is  recorded  in  a  former  paragraph. 
This  is  another  specimen  of  the  manner  in  which  Sunday  is 
observed  by  the  generality  in  Malta. 

But  I  will  leave  these  matters  and,  pen  in  hand,  let  us  step 
down  to  Strada  Forni,  whither  I  went  at  eleven,  and  just  note 
what  presents  itself  there. 

A  '  devout  soldier'  shows  me  to  an  *  upper  room '  where  a  few 
disciples  are  gathered  together  to  worship.  But  how  small  their 
number  !  Thirty  are  all  who  assemble  to  '  hear  in  their  own 
tongue  the  wonderful  works  of  God.'  Of  these,  six  are  of  the 
soldiery.  The  looks  and  demeanour  of  all  bespeak  the  spirit  of 
piety.  Presently,  a  door  back  of  a  small  pulpit  opens,  and  a 
man  of  reverend  aspect  enters,  the  melancholy  of  whose  face 
evinces  a  heart  acquainted  with  sorrows  and  which  seems  to  say, 
—  Have  pity  upon  me,  O  my  friends,  for  the  hand  of  God  has 


PROTESTANT  WORSHIP.  195 

touched  me  !  It  is  my  friend  Mr  T ,  and  my  heart  aches  to 

see  the  inroads  which  grief  is  making  upon  his  frame.  Recently 
bereft  of  the  companion  of  his  pilgrimage,  —  the  tender  and 
estimable  wife  of  his  youth,  —  he  mourns  a  loss  doubly  poignant 
in  a  land  of  strangers.  The  corruptible  lies  in  yonder  ceme- 
tery ;  but  her  meek  and  pure  spirit  has  ascended  from  the  fading 
to  the  abiding,  —  from  the  society  of  earth,  to  that  household  in 
the  heavens,  the  only  family  which  cannot  be  divided,  the  only 
connexion  which  cannot  disappoint  the  warmest  expectations. 

The  pastor  bends  over  the  pulpit  and  silently  breathes  the 
aspirations  of  his  soul.  He  rises  —  names  a  hymn  —  reads  two 
lines  of  a  stanza,  —  pauses  —  the  congregation  sing  ;  again  he 
reads —  again  pauses  —  and  the  simple,  solemn  strain  is  renewed. 
At  length  this  office  is  suspended.  The  volume  of  inspiration  is 
before  him.  He  opens  it,  and  names  the  sixtieth  chapter  of 
Isaiah.  All  is  hushed,  —  and  the  voice  of  the  living  God  speaks, 
by  the  mouth  of  his  servant,  words  of  comfort  to  Jerusalem  :  — 
'  Arise,  shine,  for  thy  light  is  come  and  the  glory  of  God  is  risen 
upon  thee.'  Arrived  at  the  twentieth  verse,  he  suspends  the 
reading  to  observe  —  '  Although  this  portion  of  the  prophecy 
doubtless  refers  in  a  primary  sense  to  the  ultimate  glories  of  the 
church  below,  yet  a  deeper  and  sublimer  import  it  possesses. 
It  alludes  to  that  blessed  period,  when  the  children  of  God  shall 
be  gathered  into  the  kingdom  of  perfect  beatitude,  when  they 
shall  bid  an  eternal  adieu  to  the  changes  and  perturbations  of 
earth,  and  grace  shall  reign  where  no  sorrow  is.' 

The  chapter  concludes.  The  litde  company  kneel,  and  the 
preacher  in  a  strain  of  fervent  devotion  addresses  the  Throne  of 
mercy.  He  dwells,  afFectingly,  on  the  spiritually  wretched  con- 
dition of  the  inhabitants  of  this  isle  and  the  shores  of  the  adja- 
cent continents ;  and  with  a  holy  importunity  intercedes  with 
God,  that  he  would  rebuke  the  '  machinations  of  antichrist,'  and 
give  success  and  efficacy  to  the  labours  of  his  servants  in  the 
dis^mination  of  truth.  A  hymn  succeeds,  the  voices  of  the 
little  group  collectively  joining  as  before  in  the  sacred  air  to 
which  it  is  sung.     The  scripture  to  be  discoursed  upon  is  then 


196  MALTA. 

propounded.  —  A  passage  from  James  furnishes  the  theme,  — 
'  Brethren,  count  it  all  joy  when  ye  fall  into  divers  temptations. 
It  is  first  judiciously  remarked,  that  there  is  no  inconsistency 
between  this  charge  and  that  of  one  of  the  closing  petitions  of  the 
manual  of  devotion  prescribed  by  the  Saviour;  that  strictly  the  em- 
phatic term  means,  as  may  be  found  both  by  reference  to  the  orig- 
inal and  the  context,  afflictions  ;  and  that  Christians  should  esteem 
them  blessings  when  appointed  to  them  for  reasons  various  and 
cogent.  These  are  next  enumerated  and  are  all  enlarged  upon, 
widi  pertinency  and  force.  —  Under  one  of  the  topics,  having 
occasion  to  allude  to  the  trials  of  those  '  elders'  of  whom  the  world 
was  not  worthy,  and  instancing  in  that  of  Abraham,  in  being 
called  from  his  native  Ur  of  the  Chaldees  to  wander  forth  a  He- 
brew—  i.  e.  a  pilgrim  —  he  knew  not  whither,  and  who  never- 
theless obeyed  the  heavenly  summons,  and  while  feeling  as  a 
man  yet  submitted  as  a  believer,  —  the  preacher  impressively 
appeals  to  the  experience  of  all  in  his  little  auditory.  '  You  all 
have  tasted  something  of  the  bitterness  of  this  trial.  For  you 
have  all  bidden  adieu,  though  perhaps  for  a  season,  to  home  and 
kindred  and  country,  and  are  now  in  a  land  of  strangers.  But 
how  much  keener  would  be  your  regrets,  if  an  exile  from  your 
native  shores  were  known  to  be  final  and  permanent,  —  if  not 
so  much  as  a  dim,  if  no  hope,  as  in  the  case  of  the  ancient  pa- 
triarch, were  left  you,  —  of  an  ultimate  return  to  the  land  and 
spot,  so  fondly  endeared,  of  your  birth  ? ' 

The  homily  being  finished,  a  few  more  verses  appositely 
chosen,  are  given  to  be  sung.  Another  address  to  the  mercy- 
seat  ensues ;  and  a  benediction,  uttered  with  Christian  affection, 
closes  the  edifying  services.  I  return  refreshed  by  the  ministra- 
tions.    This  is  to  be  fed,  not  with  '  stones,'  but  with  '  bread.' 

Feb,  19.  —  Malta,  though  called  the  Eye  of  the  Mediterra- 
nean, certainly  sees  but  little.  It  is  not  easy  to  explain  this, 
considering  the  frequency  of  arrivals  from  every  quarter  of  tlie 
compass,  which  might  furnish  the  matter,  as  the  initials  alone  of 
the  cardinal  points,  (North,  East,  West,  and  South,)  are  enough 


EYE  OF  THE  MEDITERRANEAN.  197 

to  give  US  the  name^  of  News.  In  America  and  England  there  is 
abundance  of  intelligence  published,  via  Malta  ;  but  a  precious 
little  do  we  have  of  it  here.  It  seems  like  coming  to  a  city 
and  not  being  able  to  see  it  for  the  number  of  its  houses.  For 
reports  are  flying  in  reasonable  supply.  We  have  one,  just  now, 
of  the  late  cession  of  Minorca  to  England,  and  its  recall  by  the 
court  of  Madrid  at  the  urgent  remonstrance  of  France.  This 
rests  on  respectable  authority  ;  for  England  has  pecuniary  claims 
of  considerable  amount  on  the  Spanish  government,  and  would 
be  v/ell  content,  doubtless,  to  extinguish  them  by  receiving  so 
valuable  a  transfer.  In  default  of  this,  she  may  turn  her  eyes  to 
Cuba;  but  unfortunately  that  island  can  only  be  obtained  at  the 
expense  of  a  war  with  the  United  States  in  which  France  would 
probably  join  us.     Thus  stands  this  matter. 

Another  rumour  afloat  is,  that  England,  France,  and  Russia 
have  sent  an  ultimatum  to  the  Porte  in  behalf  of  the  Greeks. 
The  bases  of  this  are  said  to  be,  that  the  Turks  shall  be  obliged 
to  desist  from  further  hostilities,  —  that  the  Greeks  shall  be  nom- 
inally subject  to  them,  but  are  to  choose  their  immediate  rulers, 
and  to  enjoy  various  political  immunities,  —  the  guarantees  of  all 
which  are  to  be  given  by  the  three  allied  courts.  This  rumour 
is  credited  here  by  intelligent  men.  ^^ 

In  respect  to  the  belligerent  affairs  of  Greece,  most  of  the  ac- 
counts which  reach  Maha  are  deemed  apochryphal.  Battles 
and  triumphs  are  chiefly  fabricated  in  Germany,  and  got  up  to 
keep  alive  the  popular  feeling  in  behalf  of  the  Greeks.  Most  of 
the  battles  were  never  fought,  and  of  others  a  mountain  has 
been  created  out  of  a  molehill.  A  notable  example  of  this,  I 
am  able  to  verify  on  the  authority  of  a  distinguished  officer 
lately  in  Greece. 

The  pews  of  a  brilliant  engagement  between  the  Greeks  and 
Turks, — in  which,  of  course,  the  victory  was  assigned  to  the  for- 
mer, —  after  being  first  served  up  in  the  Augsburgh  Gazette,  and 
having  travelled  the  rounds  of  the  European  journals,  went  back 
to  Greece  and  excited  as  much  wonder  there  as  it  had  done 
abroad.     Four  hundred  of  the  enemy  were  said  to  have  been 


198  MALTA. 

killed  and  three  hundred  made  prisoners.  Upsilanti  was  the 
general  and  hero.  My  informant  meeting  him  about  that  time, 
showed  him  the  official  account ;  and  '  how  is  this,  Prince  ? ' 
was  the  inquiry.  Upsilanti  glancing  at  the  date,  said  with  a 
smile,  —  '  Why  this  is  a  pretty  business.  I  recollect  that  affair 
very  well,  —  it  was  a  running  fusillade  —  a  mere  skirmish.  Not 
more  than  twenty  or  thirty  were  killed,  wounded,  or  captured  on 
both  sides  during  the  whole  rencontre  ! ' 

A  journal  is  printed  here  in  weekly  numbers  called  the '  Malta 
Government  Gazette,'  —  very  showy,  but  very  mum  in  the  way  of 
news.  It  publishes  nothing  but  what  every  one  knows  before, 
and  its  opinions  are  shaped  scrupulously  after  those  of  the 
Courier.  It  is  printed  in  English  and  Italian,  each  page  being 
divided  into  two  columns  which  are  translations  and  counter- 
parts of  one  another.  For  beauty  of  type  and  execution  it  is  a 
very  respectable  affair ;  and  if  it  publishes  little  news,  it  exacts 
little  pay,  the  price  being  only  three  pence  a  single  paper. 

In  the  matter  of  bookselling,  Malta  has  nothing  to  boast  over 
Gibraltar.  The  poverty  of  shops  in  both  is  deplorable.  I  have 
hunted  in  vain  for  even  a  decent  stall.  The  sight  of  a  good  '  book- 
store,' like  the  many  along  Washington  street,  would  be  truly 
refreshing.  Those  convenient  litde  manuals  also,  in  the  shape 
of  guides  and  pictures,  found  in  our  Atlantic  cities,  and  in  almost 
every  town  and  village  of  Great  Britain,  are  unknown  in  Malta 
and  Gibrahar.  A  traveller  will  have  to  bring  a  modicum  of 
knowledge  and  a  small  stock  of  books  with  him,  together  with  a 
prospectus  in  his  mind  of  things  to  be  sought  out ;  and  he  will 
be  obliged  to  brush  up  his  ideas  and  reminiscences  on  a  pinch, 
or  he  will  be  put  to  his  trumps  in  groping  his  way  through  Malta. 
After  all,  as  M.  Angelo,  the  Caravaggese,  on  being  asked 
whence  he  drew  his  pictures  of  heroes  pointed  to  the  porters  in 
the  street,  and  said,  There  are  my  originals,  —  perhaps  the 
tourist  will  find  his  account  best  in  using  a  pair  of  good  eyes,  and 
making  his  reflections  in  respect  to  men  and  things  as  he  passes 
along,  or  as  they  chance  to  turn  up. 


GOVERNMENT  LIBRARY.  199 

There  is  a  government  library  rich  in  olden  lore  and  the  lite- 
rature of  the  middle  ages,  or  of  what  may  be  called  the  cinque 
cento,  and  of  this  Malta  may  be  justly  proud.  It  was  founded 
by  the  Bailli  de  Tencin  who  himself  gave  ten  thousand  volumes 
to  the  infant  establishment.  Few  additions  have  been  made  to 
it  since  the  days  of  the  knights.  The  library  now  numbers 
sixty  thousand  volumes.  It  was  a  rule  with  the  Order,  that  any 
knight,  dying  where  he  might,  should  leave  his  books  to  go  into 
this  great  repository  ;  and  though  they  were  a  race  not  exactly 
tam  Me  CURIO  quam  Marti,  yet  from  their  numerous  small  con- 
tributions the  library  subsequently  rose  to  its  present  condition, 
and  the  arrangements  made  by  the  existing  government  for 
access  ta  its  stores  are  liberal  and  praiseworthy.  Respectable 
strangers  are  admitted  to  it.  Separate  tables,  furnished  with 
pens  ink  and  paper,  are  provided  for  visiters  ;  and  any  books 
that  may  be  needed  for  reading  or  reference  are  promptly 
handed  by  the  obliging  and  intelligent  librarian. 

It  is  pleasant  to  turn  aside  from  the  noise  and  whirl  of  the 
thronged  streets,  and  to  enter  such  a  retreat.  The  stillness  of 
night  reigns  through  the  spacious  hall.  It  is  resorted  to  by  few. 
Now  and  then  a  priest,  or  a  student  from  the  university,  looks 
in.  An  amateur  may  luxuriate  there  with  less  chance  of  inter- 
ruption ;  and  daily  I  spend  an  hour  or  two  in  its  inviting  seclu- 
sion, and  have  been  well  repaid  in  rummaging  amid  its  dusty 
tomes. 

In  the  library  are  deposited  some  valuable  remains  of  great 
antiquity  found  in  different  parts  of  the  island.  One  is  very 
curious  and  demands  a  passing  notice.  It  is  a  Punic  monument, 
consisting  of  a  base  and  shaft  beautifully  wrought  in  marble, 
and  supposed  to  have  been  intended  for  a  grand  candelabrum. 
There  is  a  double  inscription  in  Phoenician  and  Greek,  the  char- 
acters of  which  are  well  preserved,  but  their  meaning  was  a 
puzzle  to  antiquarians  till  the  Abbe  Barthelemy  hit  upon  the 
solution.  A  couple  of  brothers,  natives  of  Tyre,  who  in  the 
course  of  a  hazardous  voyage  had  put  into  the  friendly  port  of 
Melita,  consecrated   this   sculptured  marble  to  Hercules,  the 


200  MALTA. 

tutelar  divinity  of  their  city.     It  records  their  aspiration,  *  May 
he  bless  and  guide  us  in  our  uncertain  way  ! ' 

Who  can  read  this  inscription  without  emotion  ?  It  was  piety 
though  in  the  bosom  of  Paganism,  —  piety,  that  was  *  feeling 
after '  that  Being  and  fain  would  '  find  Him,'  who  is  '  not  far 
from  every  one  of  us.'  Can  we  doubt  that,  although  offered  to 
another  Name,  it  was  yet  accepted  by  the  common  Father  of  all  ? 
And  that  to  souls  in  such  '  ignorance '  the  Creator  benevolently 
inclined  ?  Assuredly  it  was  received ;  but  thank  God,  the 
Dayspring  has  arisen  upon  ourselves  ;  and  the  voice  should  be 
reverently  heeded  which  ^now  commandeth  all  men  every- 
where to  reform.'  ^* 

An  experiment,  at  least  Christianly  humane,  is  in  operation 
by  means  of  the  missionary  presses  established  in  Malta,  to  dispel 
the  cloud  of  superstition  which,  after  eighteen  centuries,  still  in- 
volves so  many  shores  of  the  Mediterranean.  The  Palestine 
mission  under  the  superintendence  of  the  American  Board  of 
Commissioners,  have  two  patent  presses  at  work  in  this  place. 
And  by  the  way,  they  are  acknowledged  to  be  the  best  which 
have  been  seen  in  Malta.  —  The  English  Independent  dissenters 
and  the  English  Episcopal  church  have  each  a  press  here  also, 
supported  by  the  friends  of  missions  under  those  respective 
orders.  There  is  no  other  convenient  place  in  the  Mediterra- 
nean where  such  operations  would  be  permitted,  and  these  are 
barely  tolerated,  not  encouraged,  by  the  government  of  Malta. 
I  have  taken  some  pains  to  acquaint  myself  with  these  matters, 
and  to  learn  the  results  and  prospects  of  the  missionary  labours 
in  so  interesting  a  department. 

The  American  missionary  on  the  island,  — who  is  a  sensible 
man  of  undoubted  piety,  and  whose  worth  I  am  happy  in  pub- 
lickly  acknowledging,  ^—  has  applied  himself  industriously  to  his 
vocation.  It  consists  in  aiding  the  translation  of  Tracts,  chiefly 
into  Italian,  in  concert  with  an  intelligent  native  Maltese,  — 
overseeing  the  printing  and  subsequent  disposal  of  them,  —  and 
occasionally  preaching  to  a  small  society  of  dissenting  pro- 
testants  in  connexion  with  a  worthy  pastor  of  the  Methodist  per- 


MISSIONARY  PRESSES.  201 

suasion.  The  printing  office  is  in  his  own  house  ;  the  mechan- 
ical duties  of  which  have  been  in  charge  of  another  American,  but 
as  he  is  about  returning  to  the  United  States,  they  will  devolve 

on  a  Maltese  already  trained  for  that  purpose.     Mr  T ,  the 

missionary  to  whom  I  have  alluded,  has  resided  here  five  years, 
having  never  joined  his  brethren  on  the  Palestine  station  setded 
at  Beirout.  During  this  period  he  has  printed  about  seventy 
Tracts,  averaging  a  thousand  copies  each.  They  are  well  exe- 
cuted, and  done  up  with  neat  covers,  the  object  being  to  make 
them  as  attractive  in  appearance  as  may  be,  with  a  due  re- 
gard to  economy.  The  cheapness  of  the  work  is  surprising,  as 
the  general  cost,  —  including  translating,  paper,  ink,  printing  and 
binding,  —  does  not  much  exceed  one  mill  a  page  ;  or  about  ten 
pages  are  afforded  for  a  ha'penny.  A  few  of  the  Tracts  are 
printed  in  Romaic.  It  gave  me  pleasure  to  see  in  the  Ameri- 
can Repository  that  invaluable  little  treatise,  Scougal's  '  Life  of 
God  in  the  Soul  of  Man,'  in  its  Grecian  dress,  just  ready  to  be 
introduced  to  the  natives  of  the  Archipelago. 

The  Independent  missionary  press  attends  chiefly  to  publica- 
tions in  modern  Greek.  This  establishment  I  visited  for  the 
first  time  today,  and  was  gradfied  with  the  businesslike  manner 
in  which  its  proceedings  are  conducted.  The  Tracts  are  quite  as 
neat  as  the  American,  and  in  point  of  form  and  appearance  they 
need  not  be  improved.  I  have  several  of  these  little  publica- 
tions now  lying  before  me  ;  and  turning  them  over  this  evening  I 
find  them  instructive  religious  tales,  free  from  offensive  sectarian 
peculiarides,  and  well  adapted  to  recommend  the  simplicity  of 

Christian  truth.    The  superintendent,  Mr  W ,  of  London,  is 

a  clergyman  serious  without  cant,  a  well-read  scholar  and  a  well 
bred  man.  I  apprehend  it  to  be  no  disparagement  to  annex  the 
last,  for  I  have  yet  to  learn  that  pretensions  to  piety  are  incon- 
sistent with  the  character  of  a  gentleman.  If  one  of  the  requi- 
sites of  such  a  character  be  hospitality,  I  can  tesdfy  to  the  claims 

both  of  MrW and  my  countryman,  the  pleasure  of  whose 

acquaintance  I  owe  to  their  early  introducdon    of  themselves^ 
26 


202 


MALTA. 


and  who  have   proved  by  other   courtesies  that  they  are  not 
forgetful  to  entertain  strangers.  ^^ 

The  Episcopal  press  is  publishing  Paley's  Evidences  in 
modern  Greek.  It  prints  a  little  also  of  Turco  and  Arabic,  but 
not  much  has  been  done  in  those  lines  yet.  These  presses, 
though  independent  of  one  another,  fraternise  in  general  objects. 
The  two  first  from  their  activity  are  most  worthy  of  attention. 

I  have  mentioned  one  motive  of  the  choice  of  their  locality. 
Another  is  the  central  position  of  the  island.  Malta  is  consid- 
ered the  Ha  2rM — the  basis  of  the  moral  fulcrum  which  is  to 
overthrow  the  superstitions  of  the  surrounding  nations.  The 
prospects  of  success  are  an  interesting  topic  of  inquiry. 

The  conductors  of  these  establishments  and  their  coadjutors 
elsewhere,  in  building  up  the  spiritual  Jerusalem,  are  obliged  while 
rearing  its  walls  with  one  hand,  to  hold  in  the  other  weapons  of 
defence.  Besides  contending  against  the  nearer  influences  of 
the  Greek  and  Catholic  superstitions,  they  have  to  withstand  the 
triple  opposition  of  Moslemism,  Judaeism,  and  Heathenism. 
Still  more,  they  take  the  ground  of  assailants.  Their  cause,  they 
think,  is  essentially  militant,  and  as  truly  they  are  sworn  to  their 
spiritual  warfare  as  were  the  knights  of  old  to  personal  battle 
with  the  infidels.  Barely  tolerated  by  the  government  here, 
they  are  resisted  by  the  Christian  authorities  holding  possessions 
on  the  neighboring  shores,  whether  Sicilian,  Pontifical,  Austrian 
or  Greek.  The  members  of  the  Latin,  Greek,  and  Arminian 
churches  in  Palestine,  Syria  and  Asia  Minor,  vehemently  oppose 
their  designs.  Even  the  Bishop  from  Mount  Libanus,  who  a 
few  years  since  made  a  great  noise  in  London,  imposing  on  the 
Telgnmouths,  Wilberforces  and  others,  and  who,  freighted  with  a 
press  and  rich  presents,  returned  to  the  East  — a  very  promising, 
but  non-performing,  man  —  this  pseudo  convert  proves  a  rene- 
gade. And  the  most  violent  opponent  whom  the  little  Mission 
family  at  Beirout  have  to  contend  with,  is  this  same  cheat  of  a 
bishop.  Then  comes,  (to  look  no  further),  the  array  of  Mos- 
lemism darkening  every  shore  of  the  upper  Levant,  and  spread- 


MISSIONARY  DIFFICULTIF/.-  — PROSPECTS.  203 

ing  its  baleful  shadows  along  the  whole  southern  border  of  the 
Mediterranean.  It  is  as  the  darkness  spoken  of  in  the  Oracles 
of  old,  —  a  darkness  so  deep,  that  if  the  Light  should  shine 
upon  it,  it  would  not  comprehend  it  at  all. 

Now,  what  but  perfect  feebleness  and  insufficiency  must  be 
thought  of  the  means,  to  the  end  in  view,  whether  employed  in 
this  place,  or  operating  by  the  instrumentality  of  a  missionary  wan- 
dering here  and  there  in  Greece,  Egypt,  and  the  Holy  Land  ? 
If,  instead  of  a  handful,  a  host  of  printers  and  missionaries  were 
to  engage  in  the  pious  work  of  converting  Mahometans  and 
enlightening  the  Gentiles,  their  toils  must  be  ineffectual  till 
Christian  Rulers  shall  unite  expressly  to  countenance  them,  —  to 
spread  a  protection  over  them  —  and  to  bid  them  a  cordial  God- 
speed by  the  way.  The  missionary,  moreover,  must  be  well 
conversant  with  the  language  of  a  people  whom  he  addresses, 
else  the  trumpet  gives  an  uncertain  sound.  The  people,  again, 
besides  willing  hands  to  receive,  must  have  eyes  to  read  the 
Books  and  Tracts  bestowed  upon  them,  else  the  press  travails 
for  nought.  Take  the  case  of  the  last ;  —  of  the  populace  in 
Popish  countries  for  whom  the  Tracts  here  issued  are  mostly 
designed,  not  one  in  forty,  if  they  ever  get  them,  could  read  and 
understand  them  ;  and  in  Mahometan  countries,  scarce  one  in 
five  hundred.  Perhaps  contributors  to  Bible  Societies,  for 
foreign  supply,  have  not  taken  this  matter  into  sufficient  account. 
As  respects  Tracts,  there  is  another  difficulty.  So  jealous  are 
the  Catholic  governments  in  this  quarter  of  the  action  of  the 
Missionary  presses  at  Malta,  that  their  publications  are  subjected 
to  the  law  of  contraband,  and  the  port  officers  rigidly  inspect  all 
baggage  to  guard  against  the  possibility  of  their  surreptitious  in- 
troduction into  their  several  states.  ^^ 

For  my  own  part,  I  believe  in  the  final  universal  triumphs  of 
Chrisfianity,  but  mainly  by  other  means.  Christianity  acts  by  a 
native,  expansive  pressure  on  the  surrounding  masses  of  super- 
stition and  gentilism.  It  is  a  pressure  constant  and  all  potent, 
and,  like  the  stone  cut  out  from  the  mountain  without  hands,  it 
will  at  length  crush  those  masses  to  powder.     Christianity,  in 


204  MALTA. 

Other  words,  is  most  favorable  to  civilization,  and  that  power 
which  is  Christianized  and  civilized  is  proportionably  stronger 
than  a  neighbouring  state  devoid  of  those  elements  of  political 
advancement.  But  besides  this  inherent  force,  special  agencies 
must  facilitate  the  spread  of  pure  religion.  Christian  governments 
should  unite,  and  one  day  they  will  unite,  in  countenancing  and 
promoting  judicious  measures,  —  nay  more,  in  encouraging  the 
projection  of  such  measures,  —  for  the  diffusion  of  the  blessings  of 
the  gospel.  Serious  obstacles,  of  course,  will  intervene,  while 
tbey  hold  to  their  present  paltry  and  mutual  jealousies ;  and 
while  for  a  contemptible  commercial  interest,  or  in  deference 
to  that  phantom  called  Balance  of  Power,  they  will  sustain  a 
Barbarian  Regency  on  the  one  hand,  and  bolster  up  the  toppling 
throne  of  the  Turkish  Sultans  on  the  other. 

To  pave  the  way  for  the  labours  of  the  Missionary  and  the 
press,  the  machinery  of  schools  on  the  Lancastrian  or  some 
kindred  plan,  must  be  brought  extensively  to  bear.  A  people 
to  be  evangelized,  must  be  taught  to  read  ;  else  of  what  avail 
are  Tracts  and  Bibles?  Native  teachers  must  be  raised  up 
and  go  forth  to  instruct  and  convert  their  brethren.  And  to 
insure  these,  they  must  be  selected  and  caught  young.  '  New 
wine  cannot  be  put  into  old  bottles.'  And  in  proclaiming 
the  message  of  glad  tidings,  the  dogmas  of  a  scholastic  divinity 
must  be  abated,  and  the  simplicity  of  scriptural  truth  be 
exhibited.  Christianity,  accordingly,  should  be  well  purified. 
It  sbould  be  salivated  from  some  old  corruptions,  —  and  its 
influences  must  operate  more  signally  on  the  hearts  and  lives 
of  its  nominal  subjects,  — and  it  will  then  act  with  a  subduing 
energy  on  the  souls  of  those  to  whom  it  is  addressed. 

There  is  a  species  of  romance  which  attaches  itself,  in  certain 
minds,  to  the  contemplation  of  the  efforts  and  endurances  of  a 
foreign  missionary.  But  let  me  tell  them,  there  is  no  romance 
in  the  actual  trial.  If  a  missionary  comes  to  the  Levant, 
however  high-blown  his  previous  expectations,  his  enthusiasm 
would  soon  cool.  I  have  talked  with  gentlemen  here,  and 
tbey  speak  very  rationally  and  dispassionately  on  the  subject. 


A  TOUR  — ST  PAUL'S  BAY.  205 

Theirs  is  a  sober  mood.  They  toil  on,  —  patiently  toil,  —  but 
with  a  damp  on  their  spirits.  Apart  from  the  labours  of  the 
press,  they  have  not  made  above  a  score  of  converts  to  their 
views  of  Christianity,  by  oral  and  pulpit  instruction,  out  of  all  the 
crowded  population  of  Malta  ;  and  those  converts  are  almost  to 
a  man  from  the  Catholic  classes. 

But,  shall  the  missionary  establishments  be  abandoned  ?  I 
answer.  No.  The  experiment  is  a  fair  one,  and  let  it  be  con- 
tinued. Bread  is  thus  cast  upon  the  waters ;  and  like  the  wheat 
and  rice  of  Egypt  sown  during  the  inundations  of  the  Nile,  when 
the  floods  shall  subside,  though  '  after  many  days,'  it  may  spring 
up  into  an  abundant  harvest.  But  let  not  expectations  of  suc- 
cess be  overweening.  Especially,  let  not  those  in  my  country 
come  hither  who  flatter  themselves,  because  they  have  run  with 
footmen  and  have  not  been  wearied.  In  this  region,  they  may 
depend,  they  will  have  to  strive  against  the  swelling  of 
Jordan. 

Feb.  20.  —  It  is  a  hard  life  for  a  traveller  to  toil  all  day  in 
seeing  things,  and  then  sit  up  half  the  night  in  describing  them. 
But  there  is  no  help  for  it.  The  past  has  been  a  busy  day,  and 
here  I  am  at  the  '  eleventh  hour,'  wearied  and  spiritless,  pinned 
to  my  table  at  the  task  of  recording.  I  shall  make  brief  work 
of  it.  and  reserve  some  particulars  to  another  date. 

Today,  I  have  made  no  less  than  the  grand  Tour  of  Malta. 
It  is  not  quite  equal  to  the  great  Tour  at  home,  —  embracing  the 
Springs,  the  Falls,  and  Quebec,  —  but  I  have  observed  a  few 
scenes  of  a  different  character,  perchance,  from  those  which  turn 
up  on  the  Buffalo  route  or  the  passage  through  the  Cedars. 

I  was  accompanied  by  a  small  party  of  intelligent  friends, 
sorted  by  pairs  in  caleches,  and  at  the  hour  of  sunrise  we  were 
off.  We  travelled  the  first  few  miles  by  a  route  with  which  I  was 
familiar.  Leaving  this,  the  journey  was  pursued  through  narrow 
and  broken  roads,  till  descending  a  small  hill,  the  Bay  of  St 
Paul  opened  at  our  feet.     It  was  the  first  object  in  quest. 

The  Bay  is  a  pretty  deep,  and  broad  inlet.  At  some  distance 
from  the  shore  is  a  ledge  of  straggling  rocks,  the  place  probably 


206  MALTA. 

where  the  two  seas  met,  spoken  of  by  the  sacred  writer,  on 
wliich  Paul's  bark  was  wrecked.  It  was  a  weary  distance 
thence,  for  himself  and  companions  to  float  'on  boards  and 
broken  pieces  of  the  ship,'  ere  '  escaping  safe  to  land.' 

On  a  part  of  the  shore,  where  it  is  supposed  from  established 
tradition  that  they  were  thrown,  a  small  chapel  is  erected.  A 
little  crucifix  tops  the  roof,  and  we  hailed  that  sign  of  the  Chris- 
tian's sanctuary.  Its  humble  door  stood  open,  inviting  our 
entrance,  and  within,  we  found  a  priest  who  kindly  offered  to 
point  out  the  litde  that  was  remarkable.  The  altar  and  interior 
decorations  have  more  of  simplicity  than  is  usual  in  Catholic 
churches.  The  pictures  are  characteristic  of  the  interesting 
spot.  The  subjects  of  three  of  them  are,  the  Shipwreck  of  the 
Apostle,  his  shaking  off  the  Viper  into  the  flame,  and  the  Healing 
of  the  father  of  Pubhus. 

As  respects  the  incident  of  the  viper,  it  is  but  fair  to  say,  that 
no  venomous  reptiles  are  with  certainty  known  to  inhabit  Malta  at 
this  day.  The  popular  opinion  is,  that  Paul  cursed  them  all,  and 
that  they  have  never  reappeared.  Stories  are  told  of  poisonous 
snakes  having  been  brought  from  Barbary,  which  have  died  almost, 
immediately  on  their  arrival.  But  I  apprehend,  that  it  would 
have  transcended  the  powers  of  the  saint  to  have  entailed  a 
malediction  on  a  whole  tribe  of  animals  to  the  end  of  time, 
merely  because  he  was  bitten  by  one  of  their  number  in  a  certain 
instance.  It  would  have  been  better,  according  to  human 
notions  of  policy,  that  a  few  should  have  been  spared  as  memo- 
rials, by  their  undoubted  venom,  of  the  signal  miracle  wrought 
in  the  personal  preservation  of  the  aposde.  It  is  more  natural 
to  suppose,  if  the  race  be  actually  extinct,  that  a  population  so 
numerous  as  that  of  Malta  would,  for  self  security,  have  long 
since  extirpated  animals  of  such  dangerous  properties.  Just 
as  the  rattlesnake  has  disappeared  from  the  more  densely 
peopled  districts  of  New  England.  However,  that  snakes  there 
are,  and  some  bad  looking  ones  in  Malta,  I  can  attest  on  the 
authority  of  an  English  gentleman  still  on  the  island,  who  assured 
me  that  on  his  first  visit  to  St  Paul's  Bay,  he  started  one  of  such 


VIPERS  —  APOSTLE'S  SHIPWRECK.  207 

formidable  appearance,  that  he  was  glad  to  avail  himself  of  the 
assistance  of  his  servant  in  killing  it.  It  was  nearly  as  big  as  a 
walking  stick,  and  was  acknowledged  by  the  natives  to  be  a 
snake  cf  an  unusual  sort.  The  size  of  the  reptile  was  not 
inconsistent  with  its  being  a  viper,  as  the  species  of  this  animal 
found  in  the  south  of  Europe,  (the  coluber  berus,)  is  not  unfre- 
quently  from  two  to  three  feet  long.  It  is  an  inhabitant  of  a 
dry  stony  ground  like  that  of  Malta. 

The  church  did  not  long  detain  us.  There  was  something 
in  the  looks  of  the  rocky  shore,  the  bay  and  the  reef  without, 
much  more  attractive.  I  confess  it  was  with  a  pleasing  solemnity 
that  I  gazed  upon  these  mute  but  expressive  objects.  These 
objects,  I  said  to  myself,  have  been  beheld  by  the  great  Apostle 
to  the  gentiles.  This  strand  has  been  printed  by  his  venerable 
footsteps.  On  yonder  sea,  the  weather-beaten  ship  in  which  he 
navigated,  was  tossed  on  that  dark  and  dismal  night  when  the 
mariners  deemed  that  they  drew  near  to  some  country,  —  when, 
sounding,  they  feared  that  they  should  have  fallen  upon  rocks, 
and  longed  for  the  breaking  of  welcome  day.  And  here,  within 
this  bay,  when  the  ship  had  struck,  and  its  stern  was  broken  by 
the  violence  of  the  waves,  —  Paul  and  Luke,  the  centurion,  the 
soldiery  and  seamen,  on  a  few  frail  spars  breasted  the  raging 
billows  in  the  desperate  struggle  for  life  and  deliverance.  In 
the  rescue  of  the  first,  the  undaunted  Christian  herald  was  pre- 
served, who  already  had  preached  the  gospel  from  Jerusalem 
round  about  to  Illyricum,  and  was  yet  destined  to  publish  its 
tidings  not  only  in  Melita,  but  in  Syracuse,  in  Rhegium,  in 
Puteoli  and  Rome,  —  yes,  imperial  Rome.  —  One  of  the  party 
read  aloud  the  two  last  chapters  of  Acts,  and  we  dwelt  with 
lively  interest  upon  the  sacred  narrative. 

I  have  spoken  of  the  Bay ;  but  where  is  the  creek,  —  that 
'  certain  creek  with  a  shore,'  —  into  which  '  they  were  minded  if 
possible  to  thrust  in  the  ship  ? '  I  reply  there  is  none,  that  is  to 
say,  taking  the  term  in  the  sense  often  used  by  my  countrymen. 
There  are  no  rivers,  large  or  small,  in  all  Malta.  The  translators 
employed  the  word,  creek,  in  its  old  English  sense,  to  express 


208  MALTA. 

a  haven  or  cove,  conformably  to  the  Greek  original  which  means 
literally,  a  sinus,  or  bosom  of  waters.  ^"^ 

Leaving  the  Bay  of  St  Paul,  —  not,  however,  before  picking 
some  wild  flowers  and  gathering  a  iew  shells  and  pebbles  from 
the  beach  as  future  remembrancers, — we  pursued  our  journey 
to  the  ancient  capital  of  the  island,  Citta  Vecchia.  It  looked  ve- 
nerable on  the  approach, — its  gray  walls  and  towers  crowning 
a  commanding  height,  and  betokening  grandeur  though  in  decay. 
We  ascended  it  by  a  rugged  path,  not  unlike  the  dried  channel 
of  a  mountain  torrent,  and  entered  the  city  through  a  barrier 
of  considerable  strength. 

The  interior  of  Citta  Vecchia  by  no  means  corresponded  to 
the  dignity  of  its  outward  aspect.  We  traversed  dirty  and  nar- 
row streets,  and  those  mostly  deserted.  The  population  is  very 
disproportionate  to  the  space  within  die  walls,  a  considerable 
part  of  which  is  covered  by  churches,  a  palace,  town-hall  and 
the  old  cathedral.  The  people,  what  there  were,  had  a  poverty 
stricken  look,  and  a  number  of  them  soon  mustered  and  tracked 
us  about,  in  the  hope  of  picking  up  a  few  coppers  and  carlins. 

One  of  the  first  streets  I  noticed  bore  the  name  of  Publius, 
or  rather  St  Publius,  for  that  is  his  tide  now^-a-days  ;  and  a 
considerable  promotion  it  is  from  the  dignity  of  mere  chief,  or 
protos,  of  the  island,  which  he  held  in  the  time  of  Paul.  The 
cathedral  itself  is  built  on  the  foundation  of  a  palace  which,  ac- 
cording to  ancient  tradition,  was  occupied  by  this  personage. 
We  examined  it.  Though  a  spacious  structure,  there  was  litde 
that  was  otherwise  striking.  Its  walls,  it  is  true,  are  embellished 
with  marbles  ;  and  among  the  decorations  are  a  number  of  pic- 
tures from  the  pencil  of  Matthias  Preti,  an  artist  who,  though 
born  in  Calabria,  the  Maltese  claim  as  theirs  by  adopdon.  His 
style  of  composition  is  considered  good,  and  his  painting  has  the 
merit  of  boldness ;  but  his  shades  are  too  dark,  and  his  subjects 
in  general  are  as  gloomy  as  his  colouring. 

We  found  the  confessionals  in  demand.  Several  priests  in 
canonicals  were  giving  a  hearing  to  as  many  penitents,  and  at 
the  same  time  a  furtive  look  toward  ourselves. 


GROTTO  OP  ST  PAUL.  209 

Quitting  the  cathedral,  we  were  conducted  to  the  Grotto  of 
St  Paul.  It  is  a  cave  divided  into  three  separate  parts  by  iron 
grates.  The  first  is  used  as  a  chapel,  and  was  so  appropriated, 
it  is  asserted,  by  the  primitive  Christians.  The  second  com- 
partment is  a  sort  of  natural  laboratory,  for  what  purpose  will 
be  soon  specified  ;  and  the  third  is  a  little  sanctuary  regarded 
with  unusual  veneration,  as  it  is  said  that  St  Paul  was  lodged  in 
it  by  the  centurion  who  had  him  in  charge,  and  who  was  bound 
to  treat  him  as  a  prisoner.  But  this  is  hearsay,  and  by  no  means 
credible.  For  the  cave  is  very  damp,  and  the  Apostle  would 
have  had  to  have  wrought  another  miracle,  equal  to  that  of  the 
viper,  to  have  guarded  himself  against  colds  and  fever.  In  this 
inner  division  of  the  grotto  there  is  an  altar,  and  also  a  fine  mar- 
ble statue  of  St  Paul. 

I  return  now  to  the  second  apartment.     The  excavation  has 
been  made  from  a  peculiar   chalky  earth,  or  rather  from  a 
species  of  soft   whitish  stone    easily  pulverized  and  absorbent 
in  its  nature.     This  substance  is  highly  esteemed  for  its  medi- 
cinal properties.     It  is  counted  a  febrifuge  and    an  efficacious 
alterative   in   disorders   engendered  by   acrimonious   humours. 
Technically  speaking,  when  exhibited,  it  is  given  in  powdered 
doses,  and  acts  as  a  diaphoretic,  producing  copious  perspirations. 
Its  repute  is  not  confined  to  Malta,  many  boxes  of  the  article 
having  been  sent  abroad.     Its  taste  is  not  unlike  magnesia,   and 
veiy  probably  it  has  some  of  the  properties  of  that  medicine. 
But  this  is  not  all  the  wonder.     The  earth,  or   stone,  though 
continually  in  demand,  is  said  never  to  waste,  and  to  be  always 
reproducing.     Of  course,  it  is  a  standing  miracle  in  the  eyes  of 
the  people,  and  St  Paul  has  all  the  honour  of  it.     But  admitting 
the  fact,  it  is  explainable   by  natural  causes,  as  the  stone  may 
be  generated  by  a  kind  of  petrifaction   produced   by   constant 
moisture.     And  as  for  the  curative  effects,  any  one  who  has  re- 
marked the  power  of  the  imagination  in  controlling    diseases, 
need  be  at  no  loss  to  account  for  its  virtue.     A  superstitious 
Maltese,  therefore,  would   stand   a  better  chance    of  benefit- 
ing by  it  than  a  cold,  calculating   Protestant.     Nevertheless^ 
27 


210  MALTA. 

though  belonging  to  the  latter  class,  we  bore  away  an  ample 
stock  of  the  material. 

The  Catacombs  were  the  next  object  of  attention,  and  they 
well  deserved  to  be  explored.  But  once  descended  into  such 
a  labyrinth,  there  would  be  no  emerging  for  a  while  ;  and  as 
there  are  other  matters  in  reserve,  I  will  pause  at  the  entrance 
and  suspend  description  to  another  date. 

Feb.  21 .  —  1  resume  my  narrative.  The  Catacombs  of  Citta 
Vecchia  are  of  vast  extent.  So  numerous  are  the  passages, 
so  irregular  and  intricate,  that  the  clue  of  Ariadne  would  be  re- 
quisite to  thread  all  their  mazes.  No  footstep  now  dares  to 
explore  their  utmost  limits.  The  title  of  Subterraneous  City 
has  been  significantly  given  to  these  extraordinary  caverns. 

Provided  with  tapers,  we  went  down  to  the  labyrinth  by  a 
narrow  flight  of  steps,  and  took  special  care  to  follow  close  in 
the  wake  of  our  guides.  We  entered  first  a  kind  of  gallery, 
narrow  and  gloomy,  pierced,  on  either  side,  with  openings  into 
ancient  sepulchres  resembling  the  mouths  of  ovens.  The  sepul- 
chres were  of  different  sizes,  to  fit  the  human  stature  in  every 
stage,  from  the  infant's  to  the  adult's.  From  the  gallery  other 
corridors  branched,  into  several  of  which  we  entered,  and  all 
like  the  first  were  found  lined  with  tombs.  We  then  traversed 
a  passage  of  considerable  extent,  which  now  and  then  opened 
into  small  chambers,  or  squares,  the  sepulchres  on  the  sides 
of  which  seemed  to  have  been  destined  for  the  more  distinguish- 
ed dead.  They  were  better  formed,  and  made  generally 
broader  and  deeper,  to  admit  bodies  with  more  ample  swathings 
and  other  integuments,  than  those  first  noticed.  We  examined 
a  number  of  the  tombs  and  found  in  them  only  dust,  and  this 
chiefly  a  calcined  deposition  from  the  crumbling  rock,  whence 
all  the  Catacombs  have  been  excavated.  In  one  only,  I  de- 
tected the  fragment  of  a  human  bone. 

In  some  of  the  repositories,  the  part  on  which  the  head  of  the 
dead  person  rested  was  raised  three  inches  from  the  bottom. 
This  rocky  pillow  was  cut  in  such  a  manner  as  to  fit  the  shape 
both  of  the  head  and  neck.     A  i^vi  sepulchres,  which  were 


CATACOMBS  -  CITTA  VECCHEA.  211 

broader  than  others,  presented  two  such  excavations.  It  is 
probable  that  they  were  destined  for  the  bodies  of  those  who 
were  united  in  tenderest  affection  or  relationship,  —  a  pair  of 
lovers,  perhaps,  or  a  conjugal  couple. 

As  far  as  we  proceeded,  we  could  discern  these  dismal  pas- 
sages stretching  beyond  in  dark  perspective.  As  the  lights  were 
held  up  and  sent  a  feeble  ray  in  the  direction  they  pursued, 
other  crypts  were  observed  with  dieir  narrow  apertures,  indica- 
ting those  various  ranges  to  have  been  all  so  many  mansions  of 
the  dead. 

The  origin  of  the  Catacombs  is  lost  in  antiquity.  Whenever 
begun,  they  were  extensive  in  the  days  of  the  Romans,  two 
thousand  years  ago.  They  have  since  been  enlarged,  chiefly, 
it  is  supposed,  in  the  times  of  the  lower  empire.  That  the  ob- 
ject in  commencing  them  was  to  quarry  stone  for  the  purposes 
of  building,  is  probable  ;  but  other  objects  were  in  view  in  pros- 
ecuting the  excavations.  As  they  were  too  ample  to  serve  as 
mere  receptacles  for  the  dead,  they  have  unquestionably  fur- 
nished retreats,  and  even  abodes,  for  the  living.  The  primitive 
Christians  fled  to  them  for  refuge.  Afterwards,  the  members  of 
sects,  called  heredcal,  sought  asylums  in  them  from  the  cruel 
persecutions  of  one  another.  And  in  later  times,  the  inhabitants 
of  Malta  have  been  glad  to  fly  to  them  for  safety  during  the  in- 
vasions of  barbarians,  —  Goths,  Vandals,  Moors  and  Turks. 

To  us  it  was  cheering  to  emerge  from  their  melancholy  soli- 
tudes, and  come  forth  once  more  to  the  air  and  light  of  day. 
Tired  of  seeing,  and  no  less  so  of  wondering,  we  soon  betook 
ourselves  to  a  neighbouring  Albergo  for  rest  and  food.  Our 
caleches  had  been  previously  sent  thither  with  some  stores  of 
provisions;  and  it  was  well  that  these  had  been  taken  with 
us  from  Valetta,  else  we  must  have  suffered  the  privations  of 
Lent  without  the  merit  of  the  penance.  The  inn,  though  the 
best  in  Citta  Vecchia,  was  so  wretched  a  place,  that  we  could 
not  have  entered  it  at  all  had  we  not  been  buried  alive  for  a  part 
of  the  morning ;  and  any  tenement  therefore  above  ground  was 
comparatively  welcome.     It  was  a  large,  half  ruinous  edificej 


212  MALTA. 

nearly  naked  of  furniture,  and  the  entrance  to  the  hall  of  state 
assigned  us,  was  by  a  broken  flight  of  stone  steps,  built  outside, 
and  leading  up  from  the  court.  For  the  sake  of  the  host,  we 
called  for  such  articles  as  the  house  might  offer,  but  it  was  a  full 
half  hour  before  so  much  as  an  egg  was  produced.  The  fact 
was,  the  house  had  nothing  ;  and  the  family,  it  should  seem, 
instead  of  feeding  travellers,  expected  to  be  fed  by  them.  For 
besides  their  charging  us  passablement  bien  for  our  shelter,  and 
gathering  up  the  pretty  liberal  remains  of  our  own  supplies,  I 
found  that  from  one  of  my  baskets  a  botde  of  old  TenerifFe,  and 
some  knives  and  forks,  had  been  stolen  in  the  outset. 

Now  as  I  do  not  like  to  read  descriptions  of  repasts,  with  either 
their  agremens  or  desagremens,  in  the  pages  of  other  itineraries, 
I  only  insert  this  to  give  some  idea  both  of  the  condition  of 
things  and,  mayhap,  the  character  of  the  people  in  Citta  Vec- 
chia.  However,  we  got  through  our  entertainment  at  last,  in 
some  sort,  and  meanwhile  were  edified  by  a  troop  of  ragged 
gazers  assembled  in  the  court,  and  a  band  of  noisy  musicians, 
mustered  no  one  knew  whence,  but  who  must  play  for  our 
special  gratification. 

One  w^ord  more  of  this  forlorn  city.  It  was  founded  by  the 
Tyrians,  and  called  by  them  Melita.  According  to  Diodorus, 
its  buildings  in  their  times  were  grand,  and  in  extent  consider- 
able. From  Tyre  it  passed  into  the  hands  of  its  daughter,  Car- 
thage, and,  (not  to  be  too  minute,)  we  find  it  at  length  in  the 
possession  of  the  Saracens  and  its  name  changed  to  Medina, 
signifying  The  City,  by  way  of  distinction.  When  it  fell  to  the 
crown  of  Spain  through  Sicily,  it  took  another  title,  —  Citta 
Notabile,  — and,  now,  bears  the  appellation  of  Citta  Vecchia,  i.  e. 
The  Ancient.  The  mutation  of  its  names  reminds  one  of  the 
famous  Tiger  in  Paris,  who  lived  to  answer  to  six  titles,  — 
royal,  republican,  imperial,  then  royal  again,  and  so  on.  But 
the  royalty  of  Citta  Vecchia,  I  fear,  has  forever  gone.  The 
Arabs,  to  strengthen  it,  reduced  its  circuit.  And  in  later 
times  it  has  been  further  diminished,  till,  though  stately  without, 
it  has  fallen  to  a  shadow,  at  least  to  the  shell  of  its  former  self. 


DISTRIBUTIVE  POPULATION.  213 

The  residue  of  our  excursion  led  us  over  interesting  parts  of 
the  island.  We  stopped  to  regale  ourselves  in  the  Grand  Mas- 
ters' gardens,  and  did  not  overlook  other  curious  objects.  ^^ 
The  journey  served  to  correct  some  general  impressions  of  this 
singular  island,  and  to  fix  in  my  mind  more  distinct  notions  of 
its  features  and  peculiarities. 

The  great  population  of  Malta  is  more  extraordinary  when 
we  contemplate  the  fact,  that  by  far  the  larger  part  is  condensed 
on  half  of  the  island,  I  mean,  even  setting  aside  Valetta  and  its 
immediate  suburbs.  Let  aline  be  drawn  across  Malta  north  and 
south,  a  little  above  Citta  Vecchia,  or  assuming  for  that  line  the 
old  cordon  of  intrenchments  noticed  in  page  155,  then  the  east- 
ern division,  in  which  the  modern  city  is  placed,  will  be  found 
to  contain  all  the  principal  boroughs  or  casals,  (viz.  twentytwo,) 
on  the  whole  island.  Only  some  hamlets  and  scattered  houses, 
in  addition  to  the  military  erections,  are  to  be  seen  in  the  west- 
ern section.  The  face  of  the  native  rock  has  proved  there  far 
more  stubborn  and  untractable  than  on  this  side  ;  and  the  air 
towards  the  coasts  is  complained  of  as  unwholesome.  The 
sparser  population  in  that  quarter  depend  principally  on  fishing 
for  support,  and  indeed  they  have  plied  the  coral  fishery  with 
some  success  ;  still,  as  has  been  remarked,  the  great  body  of  the 
inhabitants  determines  to  the  opposite  direction. 

I  was  particularly  struck  with  the  evidence  of  this,  on  ap- 
proaching La  Valetta  last  evening.  The  signs  of  accumulating 
and  accumulated  population  began  to  spread  themselves  on 
every  side.  And  when  the  towers  of  the  city  were  descried, 
and  its  suburbs,  like  broad  wings,  were  seen  stretching  along  the 
line  of  the  horizon,  the  assemblage  seemed  to  constitute  but  one 
and  the  same,  grand  and  extensive  city. 

There  is  a  project  on  foot,  started  by  some  intelligent  and 
enterprising  men,  both  for  taking  up  the  remaining  rocky  wastes 
of  Malta  and,  by  rendering  them  productive,  giving  employment 
to  its  redundant  poor.  I  have  conversed  with  gentlemen  inter- 
ested in  the  scheme,   and  have  endeavoured  to  ascertain  the 


214  MALTA. 

capabilities  of  the  grounds  intended  to  be  worked,  by  observa- 
tions on  the  spot. 

The  general  surface  of  Malta,  it  should  be  borne  in  mind, 
is  a  crust  of  calcareous  rock,  the  upper  part  of  which  is 
hard,  but  that  being  removed,  the  interior  substance  is  found 
soft  and  porous.  Below  tliis,  a  substratum  of  earth  and 
gravel  is  often  detected.  The  hard  superficial  shell  is,  in  gene- 
ral, only  a  few  inches  in  thickness.  Roots  of  trees  and  shrubs, 
if  they  can  work  beneath  this,  are  found  to  insinuate  themselves 
into  the  proximate  layers  with  ease.  They  pierce,  without  split- 
ting, the  bed  of  the  rock,  and  though  growing  in  the  heart  of 
such  a  rough  material,  they  attain  a  size  equal  to  that  when  they 
vegetate  in  common  soils.  The  plan  in  contemplation  is,  to  cut 
through  the  crust,  and  from  the  softer  stone  to  scoop  out  cavities 
of  a  yard  in  depth,  and,  filling  them  with  earth,  to  plant  mulberry 
trees  for  silkworms,   and  then  letting  them  take  their  chance. 

To  explain  the  utilities  of  such  a  scheme,  if  practicable,  as  I 
think  it  is,  the  following  calculation  is  offered.  The  superficies 
of  Malta  is  reckoned  at  sixteen  thousand  two  hundred  and  fifteen 
salms.  A  salm,  or  salma  as  it  should  strictly  be  written,  is  equal  to  . 
three  acres.  Of  the  whole  area,  three  thousand  salms  now  unpro- 
ductive, are  believed  capable  of  being  reclaimed  for  the  objects 
stated  above.  A  thousand  mulberry  trees,  it  is  computed,  could  be 
planted  on  one  salm.  This  I  think  too  large  a  calculation ;  but  let 
it  pass.  By  this  estimate,  then,  on  the  reserved  area  of  three  thou- 
sand salms,  three  millions  of  mulberry  stocks  could  be  set  out. 
The  product  of  silk  which  the  worms  nourished  on  all  those  trees 
could  supply,  may  be  put  down  at  fifteen  thousand  quintals,  —  a 
quintal  being  equal  to  one  hundred  and  seventy  English  pounds' 
weight.  In  the  proportion  of  every  quintal  of  silk,  ten  men  must 
be  employed,  —  or  rather  ten  hands,  whether  men,  women,  or 
children, —  as  their  services  would  be  requisite  for  the  charge  and 
feeding  the  worms,  and  for  taking  care  of  the  trees  and  grounds. 
Accordingly,  the  whole  number  of  hands  necessary  would  give 
the  multiple  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand,  a  sum  more 
than  equal  to  all  the  population  of  Malta. 


GEOLOGY  OF  THE  ISLAND.  215 

Measures  are  in  train  to  cany  into  effect  this  project. 
Some  capitalists  in  London  are  favourably  inclined  to  the  specu- 
lation, and  their  aid  is  confidently  expected.  A  number  of  trees 
have  already  been  introduced  from  Italy.  But  those  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Marseilles  are  reputed  the  best,  and  the  re- 
maining supplies  are  looked  for  from  that  quarter.  ^^ 

Malta  has  some  geological  peculiarities  worthy  of  notice.  In 
the  first  place,  there  is  nothing  volcanic  about  any  part  of  its 
structure,  contrary  to  the  phenomena  of  so  many  other  isles  in 
the  Mediterranean.  Sometimes,  during  great  eruptions  of 
Mount  iEtna^  it  has  been  partially  shaken  by  earthquakes,  but  no 
serious  damage  has  happened  thereby  within  the  memory  of 
man. 

Besides  a  few  fossil  productions,  such  as  petrifactions  and  cal- 
careous concretions,  the  island  offers  nothing  indeed  particularly 
deserving  a  place  in  a  cabinet  of  natural  history.  The  remark 
applies  also  to  Goza  and  Cumino,  whose  general  formation  is  pre- 
cisely similar  to  Malta.  But  what  is  truly  extraordinary  is,  that 
the  relative  position  of  these  three  islands,  the  analogy  of  their  sub- 
stances, and  almost  uniform  resemblance  in  the  arrangement,  dip 
and  inclination  of  their  respective  strata,  can  leave  no  doubt  in 
reflecting  minds  that  they  all  were  once  united  ;  and  in  fact,  that 
they  are  only  fragments  of  a  vast  insular  mass  the  remainder  of 
which  has  been  carried  away  by  some  mighty  inundation.  The 
whole  circumference  of  the  islands  exhibits  plain  marks  of  cor- 
rosion by  waters ;  and  the  rocks  which  edge  the  coasts  are  the 
obvious  remains  of  the  portion  which  has  been  destroyed. 

The  broadest  part  of  Maka  lies  to  the  east  of  the  city  of  Va- 
letta.  It  gradually  becomes  narrower  as  it  lengthens  in  the 
opposite  direction ;  and  Cumino  and  Goza,  separated  by  narrow 
straits,  are  placed  successively  in  the  same  range  towards  the 
west.  The  general  aspect  of  this  island  may  be  compared  to 
an  inclined  plane,  extending  from  South-south-west  to  North- 
north-east.  The  principal  defiles  and  valleys  run  constantly 
in  that  course  ;  and  on  the  side  where  the  coast  is  most  level, 
they  form  those  fine  ports  which   render  Maka  so  famous  a 


216  MALTA. 

resort  for  trade  and  navigation.  The  straits  of  Cumino  are  pro- 
bably the  basins  of  similar  valleys,  the  earth  below  having  sunk  or 
been  washed  away.  Goza  exhibits  the  same  features,  but  it  is 
higher  than  Malta,  and  at  the  west  and  south  it  is  faced  with 
elevated  and  steep  rocks.  ^^ 

Another  circumstance  to  be  observed  is,  that  in  the  hollows 
and  vertical  clefts  dispersed  over  Malta  and  its  sister  isles,  large 
quantities  of  a  peculiar  clay,  both  gray  and  red,  are  often  dis- 
covered. This  substance,  deposited  in  heaps,  is  evidently  no 
native  of  the  isles  themselves.  It  is  a  puzzle  with  geologists, 
Whence  came  it  ?  The  answer  is,  —  with  that  mighty  deluge 
which  ages  ago  swept  over  the  rocky  mass  that  originally  em- 
braced all  the  islands,  and  of  which  they  remain  only  the  shatter- 
ed fragments.  The  next  question  is,  whence  came  that  deluge  ? 
We  can  only  say,  from  the  west,  incontestably ;  but  what 
caused  it,  is  beyond  human  powers  of  solution. 

Having  cut  the  knot  with  geologists,  I  turn  to  the  antiquarian. 
He  asks,  when  did  this  deluge  happen  ?  I  shall  use  the  privilege 
of  a  Yankee  (not  Roman)  citizen,  by  replying  in  the  shape  of 
other  questions.  Was  not  the  era  the  same  with  that  of  the 
deluge  of  Deucalion,  which  chronologists  put  down  1500  years 
before  the  vulgar  era  ?  Was  not  the  deluge  of  Deucalion,  which 
ravaged  Thessaly,  one  and  the  same  with  the  third  of  the  floods 
in  the  order  mentioned  by  Xenophon,  and  which,  he  says, 
buried  all  Attica  with  its  waters  ?  Was  not  this  the  terrible  in- 
undation which  broke  over  the  mountain  chain  at  the  entrance  of 
Gibraltar,  of  which  the  Pillars  of  Hercules  are  the  survivers,  — 
an  inundation  which  raised  the  bed  of  the  Mediterranean  from 
an  inconsiderable  sea  to  its  present  immense  expanse,  and  cov- 
ered shores  once  naked  as  are  now  the  fertile  valleys  in  the  basin 
of  the  Mississippi  ^  Was  not  that  inundation  occasioned  by  the 
submersion  of  the  celebrated  Isle  of  Atlantis  in  the  Western 
Ocean,  understood  as  no  fiction,  but  as  an  actual  territory,  an- 
ciently of  great  extent  ?  And  are  not  the  scattered  groups  of 
the  Azores,  Cape  Verds  and  Canaries  not  only  remains  of  such 
an  island,  but  proofs  of  its  catastrophe  being  caused  by  the  action 


ANCIENT  INUNDATION.  217 

of  volcanic  fires,  which,  wasting  its  foundations,  at  length  pro- 
duced the  decadence  and  wreck  of  the  superincumbent  con- 
tinent ? 

In  support  of  the  suggestions  contained  in  these  queries,  it 
may  be  urged,  that  the  account  of  Plato  is  very  distinct  and  em- 
phatic in  relation  to  the  existence  and  disappearance  ol'  a 
vast  tract  of  land  in  the  Atlantic  Ocean,  (whence  its  name  has 
been  derived  ;)  —  tliat  the  land,  if  such  there  was,  very  natural- 
ly connected  itself  with  the  West  Indian  Islands,  many  of  which, 
especially  the  Carribbees,  are  volcanic  ;  —  that,  moreover,  after 
strong  easterly  gales,  vitrified  substances,  tufia,  and  light  pumices 
are  often  thrown  by  the  waves  on  the  windward  shores  of  the 
Antilles,  which  would  seem  to  indicate  the  bottom  of  the  ocean, 
thence  towards  the  Cape  Verds,  to  be  covered  with  volcanic  frag- 
ments, the  debris  of  some  great  isle  or  continent.  —  As  for  the 
Straits  of  Gibraltar,  that  the  sea  has  broken  over  the  lofty  ridges 
which  bound  them,  and  which  anciently  formed  a  solid  barricade 
across  the  pass,  no  one  can  doubt  who  has  looked  at  them  with 
a  careful  eye.  Aside  from  general  indications  of  a  flood  having 
washed  over  their  summits  from  the  west,  I  saw,  on  clambering 
the  upper  acclivities  of  the  peak  of  Gibraltar,  numerous  little 
hollows  and  other  abrasions  in  the  solid  rock,  such  as  are  usually 
found  at  the  foot  of  heavy  waterfalls. 

But  to  return  to  Malta  :  —  since  the  primitive  inundation  and 
changes  which  it  produced,  some  serious  disruptions  and  subsi- 
dings  have  taken  place  on  the  island,  which,  as  they  have  hap- 
pened near  the  coast,  may  be  explained  on  natural  causes.  The 
soft  stone  of  Malta  which  always  inclines  to  waste  by  the  influ- 
ence of  the  atmosphere,  decomposes  more  rapidly  on  exposure 
to  sea  air,  or  water.  A  kind  of  saline  efflorescence  is  contracted 
which  reduces  it  to  powder.  As  that  crumbles,  the  crust  drops 
off,  and  other  menstrua  continue  to  form,  to  be  similarly  dis- 
placed till  the  whole  mass  is  destroyed.  By  this  process,  in  ad- 
dition to  the  direct  action  of  the  waves,  deep  hollows  are  worn 
in  many  parts  of  the  shore  which  occasion  the  disintegration  of 
the  mass  above,  or  sometimes  an  extraordinary  subsidence.  A 
28 


218  MALTA. 

memorable  instance  of  the  last,  must  have  occurfed  on  the 
coast  not  far  from  the  pleasure  grounds  of  Boschetto.  Vestiges 
of  wheels  cut  into  the  rock  may  be  traced  to  the  precipice  over 
the  sea.  The  ruts  are  about  four  inches  wide,  and  from  ten  to 
twelve  deep.  They  traverse  a  large  extent  of  rocky  ground, 
and  on  approaching  the  shore  take  an  inclined  direction,  and 
the  tracks  may  be  perceived  under  the  water  at  a  great  distance 
and  depth,  —  indeed,  as  far  as  the  eye  can  discern  anything 
through  the  waves.  Nothing  more  is  known  of  them  than  what 
meets  the  sight.  History  and  tradition  are  alike  silent  respecting 
the  period  of  their  origin. 

As  in  my  notes  of  this  date  I  have  adverted  to  one  branch  of 
husbandry,  in  remarking  on  the  adaptation  of  the  mulberry,as  a 
silk-worm  feeder,  to  the  soil  and  wants  of  Malta,  it  will  not  be 
foreign  to  the  topics  if  I  say  something  of  the  attention  paid 
here  to  the  culture  of  another  valuable  tree,  the  fig.  It  is  one 
of  the  most  serviceable  trees  with  which  nature  has  enriched  the 
warmer  climates,  and  the  mode  of  propagating  the  fruit  adopted 
in  this  island,  is  interesting  from  proving  the  credibility  of  some 
accounts  of  that  process  transmitted  from  the  ancients,  which 
have  elsewhere  been  received  with  considerable  distrust. 

This  class  of  trees  may  be  divided  into  two  species,  namely, 
the  domestic  fig  and  the  wild  fig.  Of  the  thirty  varieties  which 
naturalists  have  enumerated  under  the  former  species,  seven  or 
eight  are  cultivated  in  Malta.  The  best  are  those  commonly 
known  as  the  round  fig  and  the  long  fig.  The  second  bears 
most  fruit ;  the  first  is  very  rich  and  succulent,  and  is  earliest 
in  ripening.  The  wild  fig-tree  resembles^  in  all  its  parts,  the 
domestic  fig-tree,  but  it  is  utterly  useless  other  than  as  aiding 
the  maturation  of  the  fruit  of  the  latter.  This  is  the  operation 
which  has  been  disputed  by  some  who,  because  they  did  not 
see  it,  would  not  believe  it,  or  perhaps  they  thought,  if  it  were 
proved,  that  figs  would  not  afterwards  taste  quite  so  pleasantly 
as  before.  ^^ 

The  facts  are  these  ;  —  wild  fig-trees  are  the  natural  haunts 
of  a  peculiar  kind  of  gnats  found  only  in  their  neighbourhood. 


CULTURE  OF  THE  FIG.  219 

They  puncture  the  figs  and  deposlte  their  eggs  in  them,  which, 
after  a  while,  produce  little  worms  of  a  shining  black  colour, 
which  are  considered  a  species  of  very  small  ichneumons.  At 
a  certain  time  these  worms,  transformed  into  small  gnats  them- 
selves, puncture  other  figs,  and  thus  the  process  continues  in 
succession.  The  kernels  of  the  figs  are  the  habitations  of  the 
future  gnats,  and  figs  which  these  insects  refuse  to  enter,  languish, 
become  dry  and  shrivelled,  and  fall  off  without  ripening. 
On  the  other  hand,  those  which  are  fecundated  by  the  puncture 
of  the  gnats,  visibly  increase  in  size,  and  the  seeds,  which  are 
larger  than  in  the  domestic  fig,  soon  fill  the  whole  cavity  of  the 
rind. 

The  service  which,  as  I  have  said,  they  render  to  the  domestic 
figs,  remains  to  be  explained.  The  first  of  the  two  species 
most  prized  in  Malta  gives  a  double  gathering  yearly,  namely, 
in  June  and  August ;  the  other  bears  but  once,  and  is  the  same 
sort  which  is  celebrated  for  its  fruitfulness  in  the  Greek  Islands. 
The  June  crop  of  the  former  so  far  exhausts  the  tree,  that  its 
second  would  be  of  little  account  unless  a  remedy  were  at  hand 
in  the  little  insects,  which  nestle  in  the  wild  figs.  When  the 
summer  crop  makes  its  appearance,  the  Maltese  are  careful  to 
suspend  in  different  parts  of  a  domestic  fig-tree,  several  wild 
figs  strung  on  a  thread.  The  flies  or  gnats  which  proceed  from 
these,  introduce  themselves  into  the  domestic  figs,  and  by  their 
punctures  cause  in  them  a  fermentation,  which  contributes  to 
their  ripening.  This  process  is  called  Caprification,  from 
caprificus,  the  scientific  name  of  the  wild  fig-tree. 

As  respects  the  second  sort  of  good  figs,  the  same  conservative 
and  quickening  operation  is  necessary  for  reasons  substantially 
similar.  Being  a  most  prolific  bearer,  if  left  to  itself  it  would 
overwork  its  strength.  The  young  figs  sprout  so  abundantly 
from  the  stems,  that  frequently  the  branches  cannot  be  seen  on 
account  of  the  fruit  with  which  they  aie  loaded.  Accordingly, 
if  the  tree  be  neglected,  a  great  quantity  of  the  fruit  must  fall 
unripened,  and  be  lost.  But  by  distributing  a  few  wild  figs 
among  the  boughs,  the  litde  ichneumons  which  they  breed,  issue 


220  MALTA. 

forth,  and  soon  provide  for  themselves  snug  quarters,  or  at  least, 
secure  them  for  their  progeny,  in  the  good  figs.  With  their 
keen  little  tweezers,  in  the  shape  of  a  pair  of  sharp  pointed  teeth, 
they  bore  a  passage  and  stow  themselves  quietly  away ;  and  by 
the  juices  which  they  circulate,  and  other  agencies  which  they  set 
to  work,  a  fermentation  follows,  which  so  far  accelerates  the 
ripening  of  the  fruit,  that  by  the  time  it  would  else  drop 
abortive,  the  major  part  is  fit  to  be  gathered  in  good  condition, 
and  in  the  end  almost  all  the  crop  is  saved.  The  effect  pro- 
duced is  something  the  same  as  any  one  may  witness  with  us  in 
the  quickening  of  worm-eaten  fruit,  such  as  pears,  plums,  or 
cherries.  In  the  case  of  figs,  the  caprification  is  found  to  hasten 
the  maturation  full  three  weeks,  i.  e.  in  kinds  which  naturally  would 
require  two  months  ;  and  the  difference  in  the  amount  of  pro- 
duce is  immense.  A  tree  of  the  second  variety,  for  example, 
which  left  to  itself,  would  scarcely  yield  twentyfive  pounds  of 
figs,  ripe  and  fit  for  drying,  will,  if  caprificated,  yield  ten  fold 
more,  namely,  two  hundred  and  seventyfive  pounds,  at  least.  ^^ 

The  facts  contained  in  this  recital,  may  not  be  over  and  above 
agreeable  to  the  lovers  of  this  choice  fruit ;  especially  when  it 
is  added,  that  though  few  of  the  figs  of  Malta  find  their  way 
across  the  Atlantic,  many  from  Greece  do,  via  Smyrna  and  this 
very  entrepot ;  and  the  figs  of  the  Archipelago  are  unfortunately 
produced  by  a  similar  process  of  caprification.  The  solar  mi- 
croscope has  brought  to  hght  some  ugly  looking  creatures,  which 
batten  on  the  surface  and  amid  the  sweet  frostings  of  this  delec- 
table fruit ;  but  it  could  not  tell  all  the  story  of  the  prior  pro- 
bings  of  gnats,  and  of  ichneumons  gambolling  in  its  little  cells, 
and  of  eggs  and  their  exuviae  being  embosomed  in  every  seed. 
But  the  microscope  has  unveiled  many  other  unpleasant  truths, 
and  if  we  were  to  stop  to  interrogate  it  too  curiously,  it  might 
grudge  us  every  drop  of  water. 

Perhaps  it  is  as  well  if  we  walk  on  in  ignorance  of  some 
matters,  which,  if  they  should  make  us  v^iser,  would  make  us 
no  merrier.  The  wine-bibber,  for  example,  in  quaffing  the 
ruby  liquid,  need  not  be  told,  especially  if  he  prizes  the  vdnes 


CONTRIVANCES  221 

of  Spain  and  Portugal,  that  he  sips  a  beverage  expressed  from 
the  juicy  grape  by  human  feet,  notwithstanding  it  be  a  fact,  that 
the  peasantry  of  those  countries  literally  '  tread  the  wine-press' 
to  furnish  the  draught  which  sparkles  in  his  cup.  Nor  did  it 
administer  any  special  gratification  to  myself,  on  being  apprised 
that  one  third  of  the  bread  which  feeds  the  population  of  Malta 
is  kneaded  by  Maltese  feet,  till  my  considerate  host  comforted 
me  by  die  assurance,  that  the  supplies  for  my  own  table  are 
manufactured  by  a  different  process.  Yet  every  soldier  in  the 
garrison  and  many  an  inhabitant  of  the  town,  will,  with  tomorrow's 
sun,  eat  with  a  keen  relish  his  biscuit  or  his  roll,  though  at  this 
moment  if  either  should  step  into  a  certain  Strada,  and  explore 
a  certain  great  bakery,  he  would  find  a  score  or  two,  not  of 
hands,  but  of  feet,  busy  in  plying  the  preparatives  for  the  morn- 
ing's meal. 

In  fact,  a  native  of  the  New  World,  if  he  be  taught  at  home 
something  of  the  meaning  of  a  slight  of  hand,  must  visit  Europe 
to  learn  what  is  meant  by  a  slight  of  foot.  He  will  find  that, 
while  in  Scotland  linen  is  washed,  in  Spain  wine  expressed,  and 
in  Malta  dough  is  kneaded  by  the  feet,  —  all  these  customs 
have  a  venerable  precedent  in  the  example  of  '  the  ox  that 
treadeth  out  the  corn.' 


CHAPTER  VIII. 


MALTA. 


Catholic  Processions.  —  Government  Palace;  Paintings.  —  Armoury  of  the 
Knights  5  Trophies.  —  Giraffe.  —  Arrival  of  his  Majesty's  ship  Asia. — 
Egyptian  Mummy.  —  Burmola  and  Vittoriosa  5  St  Angelo.  —  Opening  of  the 
Carnival.  —  Second  Day  of  the  Sports.  —  Indulgences  ;  Votive  Gifts.  —  Euro- 
clydon.  — Conclusion  of  the  Carnival — An  Incident.  —  Tragic  Tale. — 
Morning  Contemplations.  —  Hospitals.  —  House  of  Industry  —  Asylum  for 
the  Poor  —  Insane  Department.  — Foundling.  —  Monte  di  Pietd.  —  Con- 
servatorio.  —  Early  Marriages.  —  Monastic  Vows.  —  Morals  of  the  Knights. 
—  Customs.  —  Festivals.  —  St  Gregory. 

La  Valetta  5  Feb.  23. —  I  had  scarcely  seated  myself  to 
the  task  of  bringing  up  and  arranging  ray  memoranda  of  some 
recent  observations,  when  the  bell  of  the  passing  host  called  me 
to  the  window.  A  procession  was  moving  to  the  house  of  a 
dying  Catholic,  to  administer  the  viaticum  to  his  departing  soul. 

First  came  three  youths,  in  white  robes  thrown  over  their 
common  dress.  The  youth  who  walked  in  the  centre,  bore  a 
red  banner.  One  of  his  companions  was  the  bell-ringer,  and 
the  other  carried  a  vase,  probably  with  the  holy  water.  Next 
marched  twenty  men  and  boys,  in  files  on  either  side  of  the 
street.  They  were  tawdrily  clad,  and  their  office  was  to  bear 
large  flaring  lanterns,  —  lighted  lanterns,  I  mean,  —  for  with- 
out them  no  procession  moves  by  day  or  night.  Their  use 
on  this  occasion  might  have  been  spared,  for  it  was  broad  noon, 
and  the  sun  was  shining  without  a  cloud.  Then  followed  three 
or  four  priests  '  in  snow-white  stoles  and  order  due.'  After  them 
appeared  the  principal  figurant,  an  old  priest,  bearing  the  conse- 
crated wafer  and  the  element  for  extreme  unction.     He  walked 


PROCESSIONS  TO  THE  DYING.  223 

under  a  canopy  of  crimson  stuff,  ornamented  with  white  and 
gold  trimmings,  which  was  carried  hy  four  attendants.  Two  or 
three  other  priests  hrought  up  the  rear.  All  were  bareheaded, 
and  they  moved  with  noisy  chant,  in  addition  to  the  clatter  of 
the  hand-bell.  As  the  procession  passed,  the  groups  in  the 
streets  knelt,  uncovered,  nor  did  they  rise  till  it  had  gone  by. 

This  was  quite  a  modest  procession.  An  evening  or  two 
since,  a  cortege  of  double  the  number  moved  for  the  same 
object  to  another  house.  It  was  near  the  hour  of  ten,  and  then 
the  lanterns  were  of  service.  Some  of  the  officials  bore  huge 
flambeaux,  and  the  glare  of  the  numerous  hghts  turned  darkness 
into  day.  Such  a  procession  denoted  the  greater  wealth  and 
consequent  piety  of  the  dying  man  ;  for  in  Catholic  lands  money 
is  merit.  The  offices  of  the  church  and  the  consolations  of  re- 
ligion must  be  bought  and  paid  for,  at  fixed  cash  prices  ;  and  woe 
to  the  poor  wretch  who  cannot  huy  the  prayers  of  a  priest,  or 
the  absolution  of  the  church. 

It  is  to  be  observed  that  the  men  and  boys,  or  what  may  be 
called  the  privates,  in  these  processions,  are  not  in  the  regular 
pay  of  the  priests.  When  the  last  office  of  religion  is  to  be  per- 
formed to  the  sick,  and  a  message  is  sent  for  the  attendance  of  an 
ecclesiastic,  as  he  cannot  move  without  a  procession,  this  form  is 
arranged  according  to  the  quality,  wealth,  and  munificence  of  the 
person  to  be  visited.  A  muster  is  made  from  the  mob  in  the 
streets.  They  are  tricked  out  from  the  standing  wardrobe  of  the 
church  ;  their  parts  and  places  are  cast  and  assigned  ;  a  comple- 
ment of  priests  in  ordinary  is  then  drafted  to  grace  and 
set  off  the  show,  and  thus  escorted  the  spiritual  father  repairs 
to  the  house  of  sickness.  The  procession  waits  at  the  door 
while  he  goes  in  and  performs  the  ceremonial  required,  and 
when  it  is  finished,  he  returns  in  the  same  state  with  which  he 
went.  The  officials  unfrock,  deposit  their  lanterns  and  other 
implements  in  the  church's  storehouse,  and  are  then  dismissed, 
each  with  a  trifling  gratuity,  to  mix  indiscriminately  with  the 
populace  abroad. 


224  MALTA. 

I  will  not  stop  to  offer  reflections  on  the  emptiness  of  such  a 
ceremonial ;  nor  inquire  of  what  possible  use  it  can  be  to  the 
dying  soul,  other  than  to  cheat  it  into  a  dream  of  false  security, 
by  converting  the  notion  of  extreme  unction  into  a  flattering 
unction.  Nor  need  I  suggest  the  tendency  of  such  forms  to 
keep  the  people  in  convenient  awe  of  the  clergy,  as  men  whose 
province  it  solely  is  to  reconcile  them  to  God,  and  whose  rites 
wear  the  appearance  of  magical  charms,  inexplicable  indeed  in 
their  nature,  but  of  efficacy  not  to  be  questioned.  —  I  pass  to 
more  agreeable  topics. 

The  Government  palace  contains  many  apartments  deserving 
of  attention.  The  building  itself  is  an  immense  pile,  and  though 
no  ways  distinguished  on  the  exterior  by  architectural  embellish- 
ments, it  looks  better  for  its  simplicity  and  makes  an  imposing 
appearance.  The  suite  of  apartments,  formerly  the  state  rooms 
of  the  grand  masters,  is  a  noble  range.  I  visited  them  in  order, 
—  the  levee,  cabinet,  drawing,  dining,  breakfast,  bed  and  anti- 
rooms,  —  and  was  gratified  with  the  survey.  Among  the 
paintings,  I  remarked  two  very  fine  portraits  of  L'Isle  Adam  and 
John  La  Valette.  Several  scriptural  pieces  are  of  great  merit ; 
two  of  them,  which  are  acknowledged  originals,  are  the  Saviour 
by  Guido,  and  the  Death  of  Abel  by  Espagnolet.  The  best  paint- 
ings ornament  the  walls  of  one  of  the  larger  apartments  ;  all  the 
subjects  of  which  are  sacred,  save  a  magnificent  full  length  of  Cath- 
erine Second  of  Russia.  It  is  abominable  that  the  portrait  of  that 
imperial  strumpet  should  be  admitted  to  such  company.  What 
is  worse,  it  occupies  the  most  conspicuous  place  in  the  room  ; 
and,  as  if  to  insult  religion,  the  painting  representing  the  Saviour 
is  placed  by  its  side.  The  empress  is  depicted  in  all  the  pride 
of  beauty,  and  with  every  trait  of  frondess  voluptuousness. 

Besides  these  paintings,  the  walls  and  ceiling  of  the  great  cor- 
ridors connecting  with  the  state  apartments,  are  covered  with 
others,  chiefly  frescos.  The  subjects  are  historical,  represent- 
ing various  engagements  of  the  knights  with  the  Turks.  I 
observed  some  spirited  views  of  the  siege  of  Malta,  and  many 


PALACE  —  ARMOURY.  225 

fine  heads  of  the  old  chevaliers  interspersed  in  the  compart- 
ments. 

I  looked  next  into  the  armoury.  It  occupies  a  very  large  hall, 
and  its  collections  are  arranged  with  the  finest  effect.  It  contains 
ten  thousand  stand  of  muskets,  and  twentytwo  thousand  car- 
bines and  pistols.  There  is  a  good  assortment  likewise  of  cut- 
lasses, boarding-pikes  and  rifles.  Many  of  the  last  are  provided 
with  short  swords,  so  contrived  as  to  be  easily  fixed  to  the  tops 
like  bayonets  and  used  as  such,  or  be  taken  off  in  case  of  need 
and  employed  as  sabres. 

But  by  far  the  most  interesting  part  of  the  establishment  is  the 
collection  of  armour  and  trophies  belonging  to  the  old  knights. 
Of  the  former,  no  less  than  three  hundred  suits  are  preserved ; 
some  are  very  superb,  being  made  of  finest  steel,  damasked  with 
gold.  The  cuirass  of  AlofFde  Vignacourt,  a  most  beautiful 
specimen,  was  particularly  pointed  out.  A  portrait  of  the  noble 
chief  himself  is  suspended  near  it.  It  is  one  of  the  finest  heads 
I  have  ever  seen.  The  painting  remains  in  fine  preservation 
and  is  considered  the  master-piece  of  its  artist,  the  celebrated 
Michael  Angelo  de  Caravaggio. 

The  ponderousness  of  some  of  these  suits  of  armour,  weigh- 
ing not  less  than  fifty  or  sixty  pounds,  proves  that  the  men  who 
wore  them,  were  possessed  of  iron  frames  as  well  as  iron  hearts. 
Many  of  the  suits  are  placed  on  wooden  frames  accommodated 
to  their  size  and  shape,  and  as  the  images  are  helmed  and 
visored,  they  look  in  front  exactly  like  the  old  warriors  risen 
from  the  dead.  Each  holds  a  spear  and  shield  ;  and  a  visiter 
almost  involuntarily  salutes  them  with  a  feeling  of  respect  ap- 
proaching to  awe,  as  he  walks  along  the  grim  and  silent  line. 
The  armour  was  only  designed  to  cover  the  front  and  sides  of 
the  human  body.  The  other  parts  were  left  unprotected.  For 
the  nether  extremities  would  be  defended  by  parapets,  and 
the  disdain  of  the  knights  to  turn  their  backs  on  a  foe  was 
a  sufficient  safeguard  for  all  the  rest. 

I  noticed  one  breastplate  which  had  been  indented  in  no  less 
than  five  places  by  balls,  any  one  of  which  would  have  been  mor- 
29 


226  MALTA. 

tal  without  such  protection.  The  specimens  of  antique  weapons 
were  very  curious.  They  comprised  spears,  battle-axes,  pikes 
with  hatchets  at  the  top,  as  used  in  the  times  of  the  Tudors  and 
Stuarts,  —  bows  of  iron  and  steel,  of  great  size  and  powerful 
spring,  —  quivers  of  the  form  of  the  ancient  pharetra,  the  lower 
part  like  an  immense  nautilus  shell,  and  made  so  that  the  arrows 
might  lie  partly  across  the  division  at  the  top,  —  likewise  arque- 
busses,  a  species  of  firelock  double  the  calibre  of  ordinary  mus- 
kets, and  constructed  with  pivots,  something  on  the  plan  of  a 
large  telescope,  whereby  they  might  be  fixed  to  the  walls  of  ram- 
parts and  turned  to  any  point  at  pleasure.  The  victorious  ban- 
ners of  the  Order  were  gracefully  suspended  in  different  parts  of 
the  hall.  The  emblem  of  the  flag  was  very  simple,  —  a  broad 
white  cross  on  a  red  field,  the  arms  of  the  cross  extending  from 
side  to  side  and  meeting  in  the  centre  of  the  square. 

Among  the  trophies  taken  from  the  Turks,  besides  standards 
and  the  more  common  sorts  of  arms,  I  remarked  some  superb 
fusees  and  Damascene  sabres.  Nothing  could  be  more  beautiful. 
I  was  struck  with  another  relic  conspicuous  for  ingenuity,  though 
not  likely  to  be  copied  in  these  days.  It  was  nothing  less  than 
a  nine-pounder  made  of  ropes.  The  ropes  were  not  large  but 
very  strong,  closely  twisted  together  and  cemented  with  tar. 
They  were  covered  with  a  paper  composition,  something  like 
the  East  India  or  black-japan  ware.  The  inside  of  this  singular 
field-piece  was  lined  with  a  thin  casing  of  copper.  It  was  taken 
from  the  Turks  in  fight,  and  had  actually  been  used  by  them 
during  the  engagement  in  which  it  was  captured.  Harry  the 
Eighth's  '  policies  '  were  no  match  for  this. 

Descending  from  the  armoury,  I  was  taken  into  a  basement 
room  of  the  palace  to  inspect  a  living  curiosity  no  less  novel. 
It  was  a  camelopard,  or  giraffe,  one  of  the  two  which  the 
Pacha  of  Egypt  lately  presented,  respectively,  to  the  Kings  of 
England  and  France.  That,  destined  for  the  latter,  has  already 
proceeded  to  Marseilles.  This  is  waiting  in  Malta  for  the 
advance  of  a  milder  season,  to  admit  its  transportation  to  the 
cold  and  humid  climate  of  Britain.     It  is  said  that  they  are  the 


GIRAFFE.  227 

only  animals  of  the  kind  which  have  heen  biought  to  Europe 
since  the  days  of  the  crusades. 

The  giraffe  answered  very  much  to  the  notions  I  had  formed 
of  it.  Its  fore-legs  are  very  long,  those  behind  remarkably  short. 
Its  skin  is  beautifully  spotted  like  the  leopard,  and  its  tall,  slender 
neck  elevates  a  head,  not  much  larger  than  a  stag's,  ten  or  twelve 
feet  from  the  ground.  Its  body  is  about  the  size  of  a  moose  ; 
and  the  line  of  inclination  on  the  back,  as  it  rises  toward  the 
neck,  is  very  steep.  The  animal  is  perfectly  docile.  It  would 
stoop  its  head  to  be  patted,  and  seemed  grateful  for  the  caresses 
it  received.  Its  eye  is  particularly  beautiful.  The  food  of  the 
animal  is  grain. 

Three  attendants  are  specially  charged  with  the  safe-keeping 
of  this  extraordinary  creature  ;  two  of  them  are  native  Egyp- 
tians, the  other  is  a  Moor.  As  w^e  entered,  they  were  taking 
their  mid-day  repast,  consisting  of  rice,  salad  and  macarpon. 
They  used  no  knives  nor  spoons,  but  confined  themselves  to  a 
sort  of  fork  which  they  used  very  adroitly.  They  were  in  full 
Oriental  dress,  their  heads  covered  with  large  turbans.  Their 
posture  likewise  was  '  a-la-mode,'  as  we  found  them  seated 
cross-legged  on  their  hams  upon  a  low  platform,  and  looking 
like  tailors  as  well  as  Turks.  The  entrance  of  visiters,  did  not 
discompose  them.  After  quietly  finishing  their  simple  meal, 
they  lighted  their  long  pipes,  and  smoking  with  great  gravity, 
scrutinized  '  the  Franks,'  while  the  Franks  continued  to  scru- 
tinize the  looks  and  attitudes  of  the  stranger  quadi-uped. 

The  survey  of  the  palace  was  not  yet  completed.  At  least 
so  thought  the  old  steward,  who  insisted  on  taking  myself  and 
companion  down  to  the  cellars,  and  displaying  the  accommoda- 
tions there.  They  are  very  extensive  and  well  arranged.  The 
cellars  are  excavated  from  the  primitive  rock,  and  are  continued 
quite  round  the  entire  substructions  of  the  immense  building. 
The  Marquis  of  Hastings  improved  them  considerably,  making 
them  more  spacious  and  airy,  though  still  they  are  too  dark. 
We  tasted  the  Marquis'  wine,  and  did  not  forget  to  drink  to  his 
memory.     He  left  large  stores.     Most  of  the  wine  is  already 


228  MALTA. 

packed,  and  all  of  it  is  shortly  to  be  sent  to  England.  Perhaps 
it  will  go  in  the  ship  which  will  take  the  camelopard.  It  will  be 
sure,  in  that  case,  not  to  be  meddled  with  by  the  disciples  of 
Mahomet.  Before  leaving  the  palace,  I  should  observe  that  I 
found  many  of  the  apartments  in  great  disorder.  Preparations 
were  making  for  the  reception  of  the  new  governor.  Gen.  Pon- 
sonby,  who  is  expected  to  land  on  the  28th  instant.  Indeed 
everything  seems  on  '  the  move.'  Old  things  are  passed  away. 
Hastings  is  dead  and  Ponsonby,  already  in  command,  is  im- 
patient to  plant  foot  in  the  palace.  Sir  Harry  Neale  is  recalled, 
and  he  sails  in  a  few  days  for  England,  taking  the  Revenge 
with  him.  Admiral  Codrington,  his  successor,  arrived  this  eve- 
ning in  the  Asia,  eightyfour.  From  the  house-top  terrace  I 
saw  his  noble  ship  on  its  entrance  into  the  harbour.  It  stood  in 
very  gallantly  with  all  its  canvas  spread,  and  streamers  flying. 
There  was  no  salute,  as  it  was  just  sunset,  and  the  ceremonial 
of  gunpowder  compliments  is  deferred  till  tomorrow.  ^^ 

Feb.  24.  —  I  called  this  morning,  by  invitation,  at  a  friend's 
house  to  examine  a  Theban  mummy,  which  was  lately  consigned 
to  him  by  a  merchant  in  Alexandria.  I  found  it  in  excellent 
preservation  ;  and  though  I  have  seen  the  best  which  are  kept 
in  the  museums  of  western  Europe,  as  well  as  the  very  fine 
specimen  lately  sent  to  the  United  States,  I  have  beheld  no  one 
superior  to  this. 

The  outer  cases  had  been  opened,  and  the  integuments  re- 
moved from  about  the  face,  and  one  foot  and  hand  ;  but  the 
rest  of  the  coverings  remained  precisely  as  they  had  been 
arranged  by  Egyptian  undertakers,  three  thousand  years  ago. 
The  casings  have  preserved  their  colours  with  perfect  brilliancy. 
The  ibis,  banbeede,  cow  of  Isis,  and  numerous  hieroglyphics 
were  beautifully  painted  in  different  compartments.  Over  the 
body  coverings  consisting  of '  the  fine  linen  of  Egypt,'  there  was 
a  vesture  of  beads,  very  curious.  The  mummy  was  a  female. 
So  carefully  had  the  features  been  embalmed,  that  the  expres- 
sion could  be  read  with  great  distinctness.  There  was  a  small 
box,   hermetically   sealed,   which   accompanied    the    subject. 


THEBAN  MUMJViy  —  VITTORIOSA. 


229 


When  opened,  it  was  found  to  contain  a  black,  pitchy  substance. 
This  enclosed  an  inner  envelope,  which  held  a  human  heart, 
and  a  quantity  of  pure  blood.  It  had  been  taken  from  a  niche 
in  the  crypt  whence  the  mummy  had  been  removed,  and  the 
heart  had  therefore  once  beat  in  the  bosom  of  this  Theban  fair. 
Surveying  these  solemn  relics,  the  quaint  but  forcible  lines  of 
Horace  Smith  occurred  to  me,  beginning  with,  —  'And  thou 
hast  walked  about,  how  strange  a  story!'  Nothing  can  be 
happier  than  his  sentiments,  with  all  their  peculiarities  of  manner  ; 
and  every  serious  mind  must  respond  to  the  closing  reflection  as 
no  less  just  than  beautiful ;  — 

'  Why  should  this  worthless  tegument  endure, 

If  its  undying  guest  be  lost  forever  ? 
O,  let  us  keep  the  soul  embalmed  and  pure 

In  living  virtue,  that  when  both  must  sever. 
Although  corruption  may  our  frame  consume 
Th'  immortal  spirit  in  the  skies  may  bloom.' 

The  gentleman  to  whom  the  mummy  was  sent,  expressed  a 
desire  to  transmit  it  to  America.  Being  a  very  valuable  speci- 
men, it  is  priced  at  two  thousand  dollars.  But  as  that  which 
was  shipped  to  Boston  in  the  summer  of  1826  has  been  viewed 
by  multitudes  of  my  countrymen,  and  public  curiosity  been  con- 
siderably allayed  in  consequence,  I  did  not  feel  authorized  to 
pronounce  on  the  chances  of  success  of  another,  even  if  better, 
as  probable.  I  should  add  that  the  most  ample  vouchers,  in 
addition  to  the  intrinsic  evidence,  were  submitted  to  my  inspection 
of  the  genuineness  of  this  Egyptian  antiquity,  and  the  fact  of  its 
exhumation  from  the  catacombs  of  Thebes. 

Leaving  the  mummy,  I  took  a  boat  and  crossed  to  Burmola. 
Having  rambled  over  that  Burgh,  I  walked  round  to  Vittoriosa. 
They  are  both  more  of  fortresses  than  towns,  and  notwithstand- 
ing my  previous  observations  of  the  powerful  defences  of  Malta, 
J  was  struck  with  the  amazing  strength  of  these  additional  bul- 
warks. I  entered  Vittoriosa  through  three  ponderous  gateways, 
and   over  double   draw-bridges.     The  deep  moats  and  solid 


230  MALTA. 

walls  seemed  sufficient  guarantees  of  the  security  of  the  place. 
Yet  Vittoriosa  boasts  the  citadel  of  St  Angelo,  which,  when 
beleagured  by  the  Turks,  bade  defiance  to  the  fiercest  of  their 
assaults.  Tlie  castle  is  itself  separated  from  the  main  portion  of 
the  peninsula  by  a  wet  fosse.     The  central  part  of  the  fortress, 

—  the  same  which  came  originally  into  the  hands  of  the  knights, 

—  is  girdled  with  bastions  and  ramparts,  and  within  the  circuit 
of  the  latter  the  requisite  arsenals,  storehouses  and  cisterns  are 
included  ;  so  that,  alone,  St  Angelo  might  withstand  a  formidable 
investment  directed  by  the  skill  of  modern  arms. 

Vittoriosa  was  formerly  the  residence  of  the  Inquisitor  General. 
All  the  other  foreign  ministers  had  palaces  at  La  Valetta,  but 
the  jealousy  of  the  Order  would  not  permit  the  representative, 
or  rather  this  tool,  of  the  Pope  to  be  accommodated  in  the 
capital.  It  was  only  during  the  reign  of  the  last  Grand  Master 
that  the  interdict  was  even  suspended. 

The  inquisitorial  palace  is  now  made  use  of  for  barracks  by 
the  officers  and  men  in  this  part  of  the  garrison.  I  was  desirous 
of  exploring  the  dungeons,  but  found  them  closed  up. 

The  inhabitants  of  Burmola  and  Vittoriosa  are  quite  as  super- 
stitious as  their  neighbours  of  the  metropolis.  I  observed  shrines 
at  the  corners  of  various  streets.  People  would  pass  them 
uncovered,  or  with  the  form  of  signing  the  cross.  Indulgences 
were  also  notified  over  the  doors  of  several  churches,  where,  in 
consideration  of  a  trifling  sum  and  the  penance  of  a  few  Aves 
and  Paters,  dispensations  might  be  procured  for  sins  during 
forty  days. 

On  my  return  to  Valetta,  I  found  the  streets  alive  with  the 
bustle  and  sports  of  Carnival.  It  was  an  anticipation  of  the 
festival,  as  the  season,  which  lasts  three  days,  does  not  properly 
commence  before  tomorrow.  This  afternoon  the  streets  have 
been  filling  with  drolls,  buffoons,  and  gazers,  but  the  amuse- 
ments seemed  very  stupid. 

During  the  sports  a  circumstance  occurred,  worth  noting  on 
the  score  of  incongruity.  While  in  one  street,  (Strada  Vescovo,) 
a  set  of  mountebanks  were  dancing  about  a  fantastic  stand  to 


CARNIVAL. 


231 


the  sound  of  bass  drums  and  tambourines,  and  the  mob  were 
laughing  at  their  uncouth  dresses  and  antics,  another  of  those 
ecclesiastical  processions  which  I  have  described,  bearing  the 
consolations  of  the  church  to  a  dying  mortal,  was  passing  along 
the  adjacent  street,  (Strada  Stretta.)  The  priests  moved  with 
the  usual  accompaniments  of  bell  and  banner,  chants  and 
lights,  but  the  populace  took  no  notice  of  the  solemnity  ;  and  as 
if  the  carnival  had  put  them  out  of  the  reach  of  their  spiritual 
fathers,  they  pursued  their  fooleries  without  a  moment's  cessation. 

Feb.  26.  —  This  is  the  second  great  day  of  the  Carnival,  but 
a  storm  has  this  morning  set  in,  which  is  likely  to  mar  very 
seriously,  if  not  extinguish,  its  festivities.  Many  that  were 
determined  to  make  fools  of  themselves,  will  be  disappointed  for 
one  day  at  least  of  that  gratification. 

And  what  is  the  Carnival  ?  A  popish  festival  borrowed  from 
the  usages  of  old  paganism.  The  heathens  had  the  self-same 
thing.  In  the  Bacchanalia  of  the  Romans  and  the  Dionysia  of 
the  Athenians,  we  find  the  prototypes  of  the  modern  carnival. 

Anciently  in  those  celebrations,  masks  were  worn ;  disguises 
of  different  kinds  were  assumed  ;  the  sexes  exchanged  their 
distinctive  apparel ;  cymbals  were  played  and  horns  blown  in 
the  streets  ;  goats  and  asses,  ridiculously  caparisoned,  were  led 
about.  The  population  of  a  city  seemed  smitten  with  madness, 
and  displayed  publicly  their  follies.  Some  assumed  one  cha- 
racter, some  another,  and  some  —  like  themselves  —  no  cha- 
racter at  all. 

How  do  things  compare  in  modern  times  ?  Yesterday,  an 
opportunity  was  given  of  satisfactorily  judging.  The  weather, 
though  none  of  the  brightest,  offered  no  material  impediment. 
The  country  people  crowded  into  town,  and  license  was  given 
to  every  species  of  folly.  It  was  Sunday  ;  and  what  a  dese- 
cration of  that  season  of  rest !  In  the  press  I  noticed  some 
genuine  Mahometans  from  Barbary  and  the  Levant,  gazing  with 
looks  of  wonder  on  the  confused  spectacle.  And  what  must 
they  have  thought  of  the  piety  of  Christians,  judged  by  their 
actions  on  the  day  expressly  set  apart  as  the  Christian's  Sabbath.?* 


232  MALTA. 

It  is  difficult  to  describe  the  transactions  witnessed;  and  minute- 
ness, if  attempted,  would  be  a  waste  of  time  and  toil.  A  few 
things,  hastily  noted,  are  all  I  shall  offer. 

The  Royal  Way  or  Strada  Reale,  answering  in  miniature  to 
the  Toledo  of  Naples  and  the  Corso  of  Rome,  was  the  princi- 
pal scene  of  the  hurly-burly.  At  two  P.  M.,  this  street  began 
to  fill,  and  a  throng  gathered  in  Palace  Square  connecting  with 
it,  just  in  front  of  my  windows.  Harlequins  and  buffoons  of 
all  sorts  were  moving  to  and  fro,  and  playing  their  frolics.  Of 
the  masks,  some  were  tricked  out  in  parti-coloured  attire 
in  imitation  of  knaves  of  cards,  some  like  clowns,  some  like 
satyrs  and  zanies,  some  like  Africans,  and  some  like  Turks. 
Females  I  saw  in  naval,  military  and  men's  fancy  dresses. 
Young  blades  metamorphosed  themselves  into  old  ones ;  and 
old  simpletons  masked  and  dressed  to  appear  like  young  ones. 
Some  walked  about  in  the  court  habiliments  of  Louis  the  Four- 
teenth's time.  Even  children  mimicked  the  folly  of  their  seniors. 
One  boy  I  noticed  dressed  hke  a  highland  chief,  with  tartans,  kilt, 
bonnet  and  plume  ;  another  was  led  about  clad  like  a  litde 
Turk  with  turban,  full  trowsers  and  ataghan.  Here  and  there  . 
a  gig  was  sported,  and  the  drivers  were  disguised  for  the  purpose 
of  caricaturing  the  dandyism  of  an  English  '  swell.'  One  man 
drove  an  open  chair,  and  by  his  side  was  seated  a  figure  equipped 
like  a  dashing  belle.  The  features  when  seen,  proved  to  be 
those  of  an  old  seaman.  His  weather-beaten  visage  was  in 
grotesque  contrast  with  the  gaiety  of  his  feminine  apparel. 

Meanwhile,  a  long  line  of  caleches  was  passing  in  constant 
succession  along  the  principal  street,  proceeding  from  Porta 
Reale  toward  St  Elmo,  then  deviating  by  a  cross  street  into  a 
parallel  avenue,  and  returning  to  the  western  rampart,'  to 
descend  again  the  main  thoroughfare  and  circulate  as  before. 
These  were  filled  with  well  dressed  females  and  children  of  the 
better  families.  Some  of  the  ladies  were  masked,  and  as  they 
passed  they  would  salute  with  a  handful  of  sugarplums  such  of 
their  friends  as  they  recognised  in  the  crowd. 


CARNIVAL.  233 

But  by  far  the  greater  part  of  the  multitude  was  composed, 
as  usual,  of  spectators;  and  the  motley  dresses  and  strange  looks 
of  such  a  variety  of  human  beings,  even  contemplated  in  'pro- 
pria, persona,  were  scarcely  less  curious  than  the  characters  in 
actual  travesty.  Army  and  navy  officers,  sailors  and  soldiers, 
priests  and  citizens,  —  men,  women,  and  children,  —  old  and 
young,  —  rich  and  poor,  —  Tunisians  and  Europeans,  —  people 
of  all  languages,  costumes  and  hues,  were  promiscuously  blended. 
There  was  the  flowing  beard,  the  mustachioed  upper  lip,  the 
smooth  face,  the  shorn  head,  —  the  round  hat,  the  cocked  or 
three-cornered,  the  chapeau  de  bras,  the  turban,  —  the  common 
cap,  of  leathern,  or  woollen,  seal  or  oil-cloth,  —  the  jockey,  the 
helmet,  the  skull-cap,  the  cowl,  the  bonnet,  the  vail,  the  faldetta, 
—  what  a  scene  !  Hogarth  might  have  painted  it ;  but  even 
Hogarth  could  have  given  no  adequate  notion  of  it  by  de- 
scription. 

The  officers  not  being  allowed  to  mask,  amused  themselves 
with  pelting  the  rabble  with  sugarplums,  which  they  carried 
in  large  silk  bags.  The  sport  consisted  in  seeing  the  scrambling 
they  occasioned.  When  a  handful  was  thrown  in,  a  dozen  or 
two  of  ragged  fellows,  men  and  boys,  would  strive  for  the  sweet- 
meats, sometimes  tumbling  into  a  heap,  eagerly  clutching  at 
them  —  hke  chickens  pecking  kernels  of  corn, —  and  snapping  at 
one  another.  The  balconies  were  filled  with  spectators  of  both 
sexes,  or  rather  with  actors,  for  they  too  scattered  showers  of 
sugarplums  on  the  crowd  below,  and  the  salute  would  be  often 
returned  with  full  interest.  For  it  is  deemed  fair  game  in  this 
species  of  merriment  to  fling  a  volley  of  such  missiles  directly 
in  the  face  of  a  friend  if  a  chance  can  be  got,  and  if  they  pro- 
duce a  smarting,  there  is  no  complaining.  An  officer  pointed 
out  to  me  a  baron,  one  of  the  highest  in  rank  among  the  native 
Maltese,  a  man  about  sixty  years  of  age,  who  was  particularly 
active  in  this  silly  amusement.  Stalls  and  tables  were  at  hand, 
with  boxes  piled  with  sugarplums,  where  the  combatants  in  the 
strife  might  supply  themselves  with  ammunition  as  their  stock 
30 


234  MALTA, 

failed  ;  and  the  venders  added  to  the  uproar  by  their  vociferous 
cries. 

Between  the  hours  of  four  and  five,  a  shower  of  rain  fell,  and 
it  poured  a  few  minutes  in  good  earnest.  It  interfered  very 
litde,  however,  with  the  pranks  and  follies  abroad.  Many  of  the 
women  remained  in  the  streets,  or  only  sought  a  temporary  shel- 
ter under  the  facade  of  the  governor's  palace. 

Add  to  these  scenes  a  few  other  matters,  — numerous  shops 
open,  such  as  masquers',  jewellers',  druggists',  bakers'  and 
pastry  cooks',  —  flower  stalls  dispersed  in  places,  —  and  traffic 
going  on  as  amusements  might  permit,  —  and  some  notion 
may  be  obtained  of  the  manner  of  the  Sunday's  celebration  in 
La  Valetta. 

In  one  part  of  the  crowd  I  remarked  some  monkeys  —  calling 
themselves  men  —  with  hats  fantastically  set  off  with  flower 
bands,  dancing  to  the  sound  of  noisy  instruments  about  a  couple  of 
poles,  which  were  trimmed  with  festoons  of  green.  The  shows 
terminated  with  a  masked  ball  at  the  theatre.  It  commenced 
at  eight,  P.  M.,  and  did  not  close,  as  I  am  informed,  before  half 
past  two  this  morning.  A  ball  is  the  invariable  finale  of  each 
of  the  three  days  of  carnival,  and  the  facilities  it  affords  to  in- 
trigues and  gross  licentiousness  may  be  readily  imagined. 

I  looked  yesterday  into  several  churches,  to  see  if  the  order 
of  things  in  them  was  more  encouraging  than  the  doings  without. 
In  St  John's  there  were  few  worshippers,  but  the  company  of 
priests  was  great.  Thirty  or  forty  were  engaged  in  chanting  a 
service  in  the  worst  nasal  drawl.  Some  dozens  of  huge  tapers 
were  blazing  about  the  high  altar ;  and  when  1  add  that  the 
church  looked  grand,  as  it  ever  does,  I  have  said  all.  The  at- 
tendance at  the  Franciscan  was  smaller.  If  the  people  could 
read  a  Ladn  inscription  on  the  porch  of  the  church,  and  if  their 
faith  were  proportionate  to  their  pretensions,  the  concourse  of 
devotees  might  be  greater.  The  inscription  records  a  grant 
from  the  Pope,  made  in  1684,  allowing  the  church  to  dispense 
from  the  spiritual  treasury  indulgence  '  peradmodum,'  to  all  who 


VOTIVE  GIFTS.  235 

should  present  their  prayers  and  votive  offerings  before  the  altar 
of  St  Anthony  of  Padua  erected  therein.  In  the  church  of  the 
Augustinians,  over  a  chapel  in  the  side  aisle,  I  have  read  a 
scroll  of  another  sort,  of  which  the  following  is  a  transcript : 

'  In  honorem  Dei-parag  Virginis ;  domus 
In  qud  Verbum  caro  factum  est :' — 

the  English  of  which  is,  —  '  In  honour  of  the  Virgin,  mother  of 
God  ;  the  tabernacle  in  which  the  Word  was  made  flesh.' 

There  is  a  church  in  Valetta,  I  think  it  is  St  Dominic's,  in  a 
part  of  which  a  large  collection  of  votive  pictures  and  images 
may  be  seen.  They  are  the  offerings  of  persons  cured  of  divers 
diseases,  or  healed  of  bruises,  or  rescued  from  perils,  such  as  falls, 
fires  and  shipwrecks ;  and  many  were  dedicated  in  conse- 
quence of  express  vows  in  sickness  and  danger.  If  a  poor  man 
was  in  jeopardy  of  drowning  and  chanced  to  be  delivered,  the 
scene  is  coarsely  painted  on  a  board,  often  no  better  than  a  tav- 
ern sign-board,  and  given  to  be  hung  near  the  altar  of  the  saint 
whose  help  was  invoked  in  the  hour  of  need.  If  a  leg  should 
be  cured  of  a  serious  hurt,  a  waxen  image  of  the  part  affected 
is  gratefully  dedicated  ;  and  even  pictures  of  women  recovered 
from  the  pains  of  an  accouchement  are  sometimes  consecrated. 
In  the  church  to  which  I  allude,  besides  an  assortment  of  legs, 
arms,  eyes  and  noses,  tied  up  with  ribbons,  and  some  of  them 
set  off  with  artificial  flowers,  I  saw  a  pair  of  human  mammae 
large  as  life.  And  within  a  glass  case  hard  by  there  was  an 
image  of  something,  which,  if  it  were  not  a  matrix,  it  would  be 
difficult  to  divine  what  it  was.  Sometimes  valuable  pictures 
are  presented  ;  and,  very  rarely,  ofierings  are  made  of  the  objects 
in  silver  or  gold.  These,  no  doubt,  are  gladly  received  by  the 
priests ;  but  the  other  articles  they  regard  as  pious  trumpery, 
which  nevertheless  they  are  obliged  to  tolerate  and  keep. 

Dr  Middleton,  in  his  masterly  Letter  from  Rome,  has  traced 
the  origin  of  these  donaria  to  the  superstitious  usages  of  ancient 
Paganism.  Passages  in  the  classics  bear  him  out  abundantly. 
Livy  represents  the  temples  of  jEsculapius  to  have  been  par- 
ticularly rich  in  such  gifts,  —  '  the  price  and  pay,'  as  he  says. 


236  MALTA. 

*  for  those  cures  which  the  god  had  wrought  for  the  sick.' 
Tibullus,  also,  invoking  in  distress  the  interference  of  Isis,  ex- 
claims, 

'  Nunc,  dea,  nunc  succure  mihi :  nam  posse  mederi 
Picta  docet  templis  multa  tabella  tuis ; '  — 

in  other  words, 

Now,  goddess,  aid  ;  for  thou  canst  help  bestow, 
As  many  pictures  in  thy  temple  show. 

Juvenal  says  of  this  fictitious  divinity,  that  the  painters  of  Rome 
obtained  their  livelihood  out  of  her  in  his  times  5 —  '  Pictores 
quis  nescit  ab  Iside  pasci  ? '  And  Middleton's  sneer  has  some 
truth  in  it,  that  the  deified  Virgin  has  succeeded  in  supplanting 
the  goddess  Isis,  and  that  of  all  the  offerings  presented  to  saints, 

*  she  is  sure  to  carry  away  the  greatest  share.' 

'  As  once  to  Isis,  now  it  may  be  said 
That  painters  to  the  Virgin  owe  their  bread.' 

The  storm,  which  was  inclement  in  the  morning, 

has  settled  into  a  violent  northeaster.  It  is  the  Grecco  of  the 
Levant,  but  called  in  Malta  a  Gregale.  A  more  interesdng 
name  is  Euroclydon,  for  it  was  so  denominated  by  the  ancients; 
and  it  is  the  same  sort  of  tempest  spoken  of  in  Acts,  which 
caused  the  shipwreck  of  Paul.  The  rain  poured  last  night  in 
torrents,  but  it  was  not  till  today  that  the  wind  rose  with  vehe- 
mence. 

The  sea  is  breaking  on  these  iron-bound  shores  with  great 
grandeur.  Indeed,  it  was  almost  fearful  to  contemplate  from 
the  roof  of  the  house  the  power  of  the  swelling,  whitening  waves, 
and  the  magnificent  comb  of  the  surf,  heaving  and  dashing  upon 
the  rocks.  An  inward  bound  brig,  driving  under  close  reefs 
and  making  up  towards  the  harbour,  added  to  the  interest  of  the 
scene.  Ships,  in  the  meanwhile  lying  in  the  harbour,  were  so 
protected  by  their  position  that  they  rode  as  quietly  as  though 
anchored  in  a  pond. 

Feb.  28.  —  The  carnival  terminated  last  night  with  feasting 
and  dancing.  The  theatre  was  open  at  an  early  hour,  and 
filled  with  masks  and  dominos.     Night   had   stolen   apace  — 


CLOSE    OF    THE  CARNIVAL.  237 

scarce  a  fragment  of  it  was  left  —  when  the  melee  rushed  forth, 
and  the  jaded  roysterers  dispersed  to  their  respective  homes. 

It  is  said  that  seasons  of  mirth  flit  rapidly  away.  But  last 
night  the  hours  must  have  been  long,  or  the  hour-hands  have 
stopped,  for  midnight,  which  should  have  closed  the  merriment, 
did  not  arrive,  —  at  least  so  it  would  seem,  —  till  just  ere  the 
morning  prime.  This  was  very  fortunate  to  the  actors  in  the 
sports,  for  at  midnight  Carnival  must  end;  and  Lent, — that 
tedious  Lent  —  season  of  fasting,  moping  and  gloom,  —  imme- 
diately begins. 

Seriously ; —  Carnival  is  done,  —  much  to  my  relief  and  that 
of  all  sober  souls.  Although  some  hours  were  borrowed  from  an 
interdicted  part  of  the  night,  to  carry  on  the  festivities,  (to 
the  annoyance  of  peaceful  slumberers,)  the  noise  and  tumult 
are  at  length  over,  and  a  more  sombre  season  has  set  in. 

The  long  fast  which  commences  today,  will  continue  till  the 
festival  of  Easter.  For  the  next  six  and  forty  days,  the  devout 
Catholic  must  eschew,  (not  chew,)  all  meats,  and  dread  them  as 
deadly  poisons.  He  must  confine  himself  to  simpler  diet,  much 
to  his  own  chagrin,  and  the  chagrin  of  the  tribe  of  butchers,  but 
greatly  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  class  of  fishmongers. 

The  Gregale  abated  its  vehemence  yesterday  noon.  The 
clouds  broke  away  in  part,  and  the  sky  gradually  brightened. 
So  propitious  a  change  was  welcomed  by  the  lovers  of  farce, 
and  the  absurdities  of  Carnival  were  renewed  with  eagerness. 
It  seemed  in  the  afternoon  as  if  all  Malta  had  run  mad,  and 
the  pranks  of  some  of  the  masqueraders  would  have  shamed 
Punch  or  Harlequin.  But  the  feeling  in  my  mind  constantly 
was,  —  what  childishness,  what  stupidity !  —  I  trust  I  am  no 
cynic.  It  is  refreshing  to  see  a  whole  populace  indulging  in 
innocent  mirth  ;  and  as  for  rational  amusements,  not  only  can  I 
witness  them  with  pleasure  in  others,  but  can  enjoy  them  myself 
with  as  keen  a  zest  as  my  fellows.  But  to  see  men  assume  the 
character  of  monkeys,  and  discard  every  restraint  of  reason  and 
decorum,  —  to  see  the  contagion  infecting  all  classes,  ranks  and 
extravagances   which   would  have  almost 


238 


MALTA. 


scandalized  the  orgies  of  ancient  Bacchanalians,  and  these  kept 
up  with  sleepless  activity  for  three,  nay,  four  long  days, — it  is 
pitiable,  it  is  sickening,  it  is  deplorable. 

The  doings  were  so  similar  to  those  of  the  first  day  of  the 
Carnival  that  it  is  not  necessary  to  review  them.  To  walk  the 
streets  was  to  be  exposed  to  the  usual  sugarplum  volleys 
and  to  have  one's  collar  and  bosom  filled  with  the  showering 
pellets,  —  to  be  jostled  in  the  eddying  crowds  of  zanies  and 
spectators,  heedless  of  mutual  annoyances,  —  and  occasionally 
tapped  on  the  shoulder  by  some  little  vixen  in  petticoats  begging 
for  the  boon  of  sweetmeats  from  the  neighbouring  stalls.  One 
dark-eyed  Maltese  the  better  to  plead  her  suit,  unmasked  and 
displayed  her  wooing  features,  not  doubting  that  the  eloquence 
of  these  and  the  witchery  of  a  smile  would  assuredly  prevail 
with  'il  signor  forestiero.' 

The  incongruity  of  an  ecclesiastical  procession  parading  the 
streets  amid  the  uproar  of  the  popular  sports,  was  mentioned  in 
my  minutes  of  Sunday.  But  yesterday  an  incident  occurred  of 
more  solemn  and  striking  contrast.  During  the  extravagances 
of  the  occasion,  a  soldier  was  carried  out  to  be  buried.  A  de- 
tachment of  military  accompanied  his  remains  to  their  final 
home,  moving  with  arms  reversed  and  muffled  drums  and  fifes, 
playing  the  melancholy  strains  of  Pleyel's  Hymn  and  the  Dead 
March  in  Saul.  The  mob  that  recked  nothing  of  the  priests, 
was  obliged  to  respect  the  soldiery.  There  was  a  momentary 
pause  in  the  din  and  whirl  of  merriment.  The  giddy  tumult 
was  hushed,  and  the  image  of  death  cast  a  shadow  on  the 
amusements  and  frivolities  of  the  crowd,  as  the  mournful  pro- 
cession passed  on  to  the  place  of  the  soldier's  grave. 

I  missed  the  house-servant  last  evening  who  usually  waits  on 
me,  and  supposed  he  had  gone  to  eat  out  with  his  comrades 
the  season  of  feasting  and  jollity.  — '  And  so.  Carlo,  you  were  at 
some  carousal,  last  night,  I  suppose  ? '  —  said  I,  when  he  entered 
my  chamber  this  morning.  '  Me  !  no,  Signor  j  —  me  sleep  last 
night ;  —  me  drink  more  than  better,  and  me  go  to  sleep  ' — he 
replied  in  his  broken  English,  touching  his  forehead  at  the  same 


TRAGIC  TALE. 


239 


time  with  his  finger.  It  was  ingenuously  spoken,  and  Vicary  said 
such  3.  faux  pas  must  be  overlooked  this  once,  as  the  poor  fellow 
in  the  main  was  a  faithful  and  orderly  servant,  and  indeed  a  bet- 
ter one  in  his  station  I  have  never  known.  He  was  no  worse  off 
I  dare  say  than  half  of  the  Maltese.  But  how  demoralizing 
must  be  the  festival  which  turns  rational  beings  into  brutes  that 
want '  discourse  of  reason.' 

As  a  sequel  to  this  vile  farce,  it  is  an  unfailing  practice  for  all 
who  have  participated  in  it  to  go  on  the  ensuing  Sunday  to  Casal 
Zahbah,  a  village  across  the  bay  beyond  Burmola,  in  order  to 
make  confession  to  priests  there  in  attendance,  and  to  receive 
absolution.  It  is  said  that  the  harbour  then  swarms  with  boats 
freighted  with  pseudo-penitents  bound  in  that  direction. 

Injustice  to  the  better  sort  of  the  Catholic  clergy,  for  abetter 
sort  there  is,  I  am  bound  to  say,  that  they  do  not  encourage  the 
buffooneries  of  the  carnival.  How  numerous  the  class  of  ex- 
ceptions may  be  I  know  not,  but  I  feel  safe  in  saying  it  cannot 
be  large.  I  saw  many  ecclesiastics  mixed  up  with  the  rabble, 
—  priests  of  divers  ages  from  the  stripling  to  the  gray-beard, — 
and  they  looked  complacently  on  the  fooleries  of  actors,  those 
apes  in  the  shape  of  men. 

By  a  mysterious  fatality  the  most  benevolent  intentions  are 
sometimes  frustrated,  nay  productive  of  positive  detriment.  A 
memorable  instance  in  point  occurred  here  four  years  ago. 

Some  Capuchin  friars  sensible  of  the  evils  of  carnival,  and 
especially  of  the  pernicious  influences  it  exerts  on  the  minds  of 
children,  humanely  devised  a  method  to  withdraw  them  from  the 
spectacle.  They  promised  such  boys  as  would  leave  the  city 
each  day  of  the  festival,  and  repair  to  a  place  selected  in  the 
suburbs  and  stay  there  till  evening,  that  at  night  they  should 
severally  be  rewarded  with  a  loaf  of  bread  and  an  orange. 
About  three  hundred  were  induced  to  accept  the  invitation  and 
to  the  suburbs  they  went.  The  day,  —  it  was  the  first  of  the 
carnival  and  doubtless  a  weary  day  to  their  impatient  spirits, 
—  at  length  declined,  and  evening  drew  on.     By  an  unfortu- 


240  MALTA. 

nate  neglect  they  were  not  sent  for  in  proper  season,  and  night 
had  closed  in  when  they  reached  La  Valetta. 

The  boys  were  conducted  to  the  Capuchin  convent,  and  a 
monk  discoursed  to  them  awhile  in  the  hall.  It  was  arranged 
that  whilst  the  harangue  was  proceeding,  the  children  should 
pass  in  file  to  a  table  loaded  with  the  promised  gifts,  each  to  re- 
ceive his  loaf  and  orange,  and  then  retire  through  a  different 
passage  from  diat  by  which  they  came  in.  Beyond  the  hall 
there  was  a  range  of  apartments,  connecting  with  a  long  corridor 
which  terminated  with  a  broad  flight  of  stone  steps  leading  down 
to  the  street.  The  door  at  the  bottom  of  the  steps  opened  in- 
wards, and  by ,  a  draught  of  wind  or  some  other  cause  it  had 
shut  to.  The  night  was  gusty  and  black.  A  lamp  had  been 
placed  in  the  passage,  but  the  light  was  accidentally  blown  out. 
These  circumstances  had  not  been  attended  to  through  some 
unaccountable  remissness. 

The  foremost  boys,  a  number  of  them  being  dismissed  at 
once,  ignorant  of  the  descent  at  the  end  of  the  gallery,  ran 
through  the  passage  and  were  precipitated  down  the  stairs  against 
the  door.  Another  and  another  succeeded  ;  and  as  they  were 
hastened  from  the  hall  with  their  presents,  to  give  place  to  new 
expectants,  and  as  the  pass  along  the  corridor  was  the  only  outlet 
for  all,  they  fell  rapidly  one  upon  another.  No  inmates  of  the 
convent  being  near,  nor  the  janitor  at  hand,  the  cries  of  the  little 
sufferers  were  for  some  time  unheeded.  And  as  the  pile  of 
bodies  thickened,  the  sounds  of  distress  from  those  who  first 
fell,  were  stilled  by  suffocation. 

Some  passengers,  without,  were  startled  by  the  cries  and 
screams  of  the  children ;  and  surmising  the  cause,  though 
little  aware  how  fatal  it  was  to  prove,  one  of  them  entered  the 
hall  where  the  pious  father  was  continuing  his  exhortations  and 
gave  the  alarm.  The  priest,  indignant  at  the  interruption, 
bade  the  informant.  Be  silent,  and  never  presume  to  lift  his 
voice  when  the  word  of  God  was  propounded.  Two  or  three 
minutes  were  lost  by  such  ill-timed  heedlessness. 


TRAGIC  TALE.  241 

The  alarm  spreading,  and  it  being  ascertained  what  the  diffi- 
culty really  was,  the  door  was  broken  through  from  the  street 
and  the  heap  of  bruised,  dying  and  suffocated  bodies  was  tum- 
bled upon  the  pavement.  It  was  found  that  a  number  were 
entirely  lifeless.  These,  with  the  other  mangled  bodies,  were 
put  on  litters  and  borne  to  a  hospital.  The  tidings  were  quickly 
noised.  Mothers  and  other  near  kindred,  whose  children 
or  relatives  were  among  the  number  sent  into  the  country, 
rushed  amid  the  throng  of  carriers  and  attendants,  each  calling 
on  some  dear  name  in  an  agony  of  doubt  and  fear  ;  and  when 
no  familiar  voice  was  returned,  —  no  response  that  told  '  here 
I  am,'  —  they  were  seen  bending  in  all  the  bitterness  of  despair 
over  the  dead  bodies  that  lay  stretched  on  the  mournful  biers. 
A  gentleman  who  lived  in  Strada  Mercanti,  through  which  the 
concourse  passed,  assured  me  that  the  scene  was  indescribably 
harrowing. 

All  the  surgeons  of  the  city  and  neighbourhood  were  imme- 
diately summoned.  A  guard  was  stationed  to  repel  the  crowd 
of  mere  curious  gazers ;  and  every  method  was  resorted  to, 
which  human  skill  could  suggest,  for  the  purpose  of  resuscitating 
the  bodies  of  the  children.  But  the  number  which  had  been 
completely  suffocated,  or  who  died  from  wounds,  fractures, 
and  other  causes,  was  relatively  very  great.  I  have  not  ascer- 
tained it  exactly  and  have  heard  it  variously  stated.  But  none 
of  the  estimates  have  fallen  short  of  forty. 

The  next  day  the  dead  were  carried  in  funeral  cars  to  a 
common  place  of  burial,  and  interred  together  as  decently  as 
circumstances  would  permit.  It  was  found  that  many  of  the 
boys  were  dreadfully  lacerated,  not  merely  by  the  bruises  of 
their  falls,  but  by  the  teeth,  nails,  and  through  the  violent  strug- 
gles of  one  another,  in  their  desperate  and  unavailing  efforts  to. 
extricate  themselves  from  the  accumulated  press.  • 

The  excitement  of  the  populace  against  the  whole  Capuchin 

fraternity  was  terrible.     The  fathers  and  friars  of  the  monastic 

house  where  the  catastrophe  happened,  were  obliged  to  retire 

for  safety  to  the  country,  till  the  popular  ferment  had  in  some 

31 


242  MALTA. 

measure  subsided.  Government  also  made  inquest  into  the 
causes  of  this  fatal  occurrence.  The  result,  of  course,  was  an 
acquittal  of  the  Capuchins  from  all  designed  blame,  but  not  from 
censurable  inattention  and  oversight. 

As  usual,  the  issue  of  the  plan  of  benevolence,  however  praise- 
worthy in  conception,  was  sufficient  to  bring  the  scheme  itself 
into  disrepute.  Accordingly,  children  are  now  suffered  to  sport 
their  favorite  '  rough  and  tumble,'  and  scramble  for  sugar-plums 
as  merrily  and  recklessly  as  aforetime. 

March  1.  —  In  the  course  of  the  morning  I  called  on  a 
valued  friend,  and  as  the  weather  was  delightful,  it  was  proposed 
to  ascend  to  the  roof  and  enjoy  there  the  pleasures  of  air  and 
exercise,  together  with  the  fine  prospects  which  spread  around. 
We  walked  to  and  fro  for  an  hour,  in  discursive  conversation, 
but  chiefly  on  moral  themes  and  the  '  signs  of  the  times.' 

There  was  much  in  the  scenes  before  us  to  elevate  and  im- 
press the  mind.  When  we  looked  to  the  face  of  nature,  espe- 
cially the  broad  and  majestic  deep,  stretching  far  to  the  north 
and  west,  reposing  in  beauty  and  dappled  with  sails  of  snowy 
whiteness ;  —  when,  turning  an  eye  towards  Sicily,  we  traced  on 
the  distant  horizon  the  faint  form  of  that  ever  burning  but  never 
consuming  beacon,  —  Mount  JEtna,  —  we  naturally  spoke  of 
the  greatness  of  nature's  Architect,  in  the  survey  of  the  gran- 
deur of  nature's  works.  We  looked  down  on  the  swarms  of 
wretched  human  beings  in  the  streets  of  this  proud  old  city,  and 
were  led  to  descant  on  the  misery  of  man,  and  vice  its  prolific 
source.  A  question  was  started,  which  I  have  found  myself 
frequently  revolving,  —  What  has  been  the  measure  of  good  to 
the  natives  of  this  spot,  —  the  common  people  more  particularly, 
—  produced  by  the  teaching  of  Christianity  ?  My  friend,  who 
to  acuteness  of  observation  has  united  favorable  opportunities  of 
judgment,  acknowledged,  that  he  had  found  the  influences  and 
sanctions  of  sound  religion  to  possess  scarce  the  shadow  of  a  hold 
on  the  generality  of  the  populace  ;  that,  aside  from  predominant 
ignorance,  a  general  licentiousness,  and  that  dishonour  of  the 
Christian   Sabbath  which  a  Catholic,  conscientiously  perhaps. 


CONTEMPLATIONS.  243 

would  account  very  difTerently  from  a  Protestant,  (regarding  the 
season  not  as  a  holy  but  a  holi-day,)  —  aside  from  these  things, 
he  was  constrained  to  testify  that  fraud,  falsehood  and  profane- 
ness,  are  vices  fearfully  prevalent  in  the  bulk  of  die  people  ;  and 
as  for  those  who  might  be  called  devout,  —  that  is,  persons 
attached  in  heart  to  Popery,  and  observant  of  its  forms,  —  little 
could  be  inferred  from  their  conduct,  whatever  be  their  avowals, 
that  theirs  is  a  vital  piety.  ^^ 

It  was  the  opinion  of  this  careful  observer,  that  the  population 
of  Malta,  in  a  religious  point  of  view,  might  be  divided  into  three 
classes  ;  first,  the  common  people,  who  blindly  cleave  to  what 
the  church  prescribes,  and  what  the  priesthood  interprets  ;  next, 
the  better  informed  of  the  laity,  who,  aware  of  the  absurdities 
of  Popery,  and  conversant  with  the  writings  of  French  and  other 
deists,  are  sceptics  in  heart  and  virtual  disbelievers  of  all  religion  ; 
and  thirdly,  ecclesiastics,  (monks,  priests  and  others,)  who  are 
personally  interested  in  keeping  up  the  present  system  of  things, 
retaining  the  people  in  slavish  ignorance,  wringing  from  them 
all  their  disposable  substance,  crying  up  the  authority  and  mys- 
teries of  the  church,  and  acting  on  the  principle  of  the  Ephesian 
shrinemakers,  whose  '  craft '  was  the  source  of  their  '  wealth.' 
Arguing  from  such  premises,  the  minds  of  the  majority  of  these 
classes  would  seem  equally  unimpressible  by  a  purer  faith,  un- 
less through  preternatural  means. 

I  have  given  the  opinions  and  reasoning  of  my  friend,  but  1 
cannot  but  hope  that  the  picture  is  too  deeply  shaded.  Nothing 
can  be  more  fallacious  than  to  argue  against  the  truth  of  religious 
systems  from  the  conduct  of  their  nominal  disciples.  Christian- 
ity, in  its  most  purified  forms,  has  failed  in  hallowing  the  lives 
and  hearts  of  all  of  its  professed  subjects  ;  but  who  therefore 
would  reason  that  Christianity  itself  is  not  divine  }  That  some 
forms  of  religion  are  better  than  others,  —  more  favourable  to 
virtue,  more  conducive  to  the  social  good  of  mankind,  —  no  one 
pretends  to  doubt ;  and  that  a  more  pernicious  scheme  could  be 
projected,  whether  in  theory  or  influence,  generally  consid- 
ered, than  the  Catholic,  it  would  be  difficult  to  imagine.    Still, 


244  MALTA. 

Christianity,  however  adulterated,  cannot  have  totally  failed 
in  diffusing  a  salutary  leaven  of  some  sort  even  here.  My 
own  personal  observations,  very  likely,  may  be  partial,  being 
drawn  from  the  better  specimens ;  and  certainly  I  am  bound 
to  cherish  towards  the  families  and  individuals  I  have  best 
known,  only  respect,  because  with  such  a  sentiment  they  have 
generally  inspired  me.  The  woful  ignorance  of  the  populace 
appears  to  be  the  immediate  cause  of  their  demoralized  condi- 
tion, in  combination  with  that  extreme  poverty  which  is  too 
often  the  incentive  to  crime,  and  the  facilities  they  all  possess  of 
procuring  dispensations  for  sins.  Enlighten  the  people ;  give 
them  employment  and  bread ;  break  the  yoke  of  their  priests ; 
teach  them  their  moral  freedom  and  their  personal  responsible- 
ness ;  prove  to  them  that  the  remission  of  sins  lies  not  with  fal- 
lible men,  but  is  the  prerogative  of  God's  mercy  alone,  —  and 
the  elements  of  the  best  toned  character  would  be  at  once  de- 
veloped among  them,  equal,  certainly,  to  what  can  be  found 
in  any  other  Christian  community. 

At  any  rate,  and  assuming  at  present  the  worst  in  the  moral 
condition  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  and  the  adjacent  lands,  — . 
yet  in  speculating  on  their  prospects,  an  augury  of  good  may  be 
drawn  from  an  analogy  in  the  natural  w^orld.  As  the  thickest 
darkness  often  precedes  the  breaking  of  morning,  so  this  moral 
gloom  may  offer  the  presage  of  near  and  brightening  dawn. 
The  daystar  of  hope  is  already  on  the  horizon.  There  is  a 
growing  intelligence  characteristic  of  the  age.  Knowledge  is 
beginning  to  radiate  on  every  hand,  —  that  knowledge  which  is 
the  guide  to  virtue  and  happiness,  as  well  as  to  social  improve- 
ment, elevation  and  power. 

By  whatever  trains  the  process  may  be  accomplished,  it  is  my 
full  belief  that  ere  many  years  shall  have  gone  by,  there  will  be 
a  mighty  upturning,  —  a  momentous  revolution  —  both  in  the 
religious  and  the  political  condition  of  the  surrounding  nations. 
It  cannot  be  that  the  present  unnatural  and  iniquitous  order  of 
things  will  be  perpetual.  Hoary  tyranny,  whether  over  the 
bodies,  the  minds,  or  the  souls  of  men,  must  and  will  come  to  an 


HOSPITALS  —  FOUNDLING.  24  5 

end.  '  Babylon  will  fall.'  And  then  may  '  Jerusalem  which  is 
from  above  and  free  '  arise  from  the  dust  and  put  off  her  gar- 
ments of  mourning,  and  deck  herself  in  raiment  of  celestial 
purity,  and  become  the  joy  and  praise  of  the  whole  earth  \ 

The  afternoon  I  devoted  chiefly  to  an  inspection  of  hospitals 
and  beneficent  institutions.  As  my  attention  had  been  previously 
directed  to  some  of  them,  I  shall  throw  together  in  this  place 
my  notes  upon  them  all. 

Malta  formerly  possessed  one  of  the  noblest  charitable  insti- 
tutions in  the  world.  The  knights  opened  a  vast  hospital,  where  in 
the  flourishing  days  of  the  Order,  they  received  the  sick  of  every 
clime  who  were  cast  upon  their  benevolence.  By  the  style  of 
their  foundation  they  were  Hospitallers  and  they  maintained  their 
claims  to  the  appellation  till  their  decline  and  fall.  Personal 
attendance  upon  the  diseased  was  the  duty  of  all,  and  they  ful- 
filled it  by  waiting  in  rotation  on  their  patients  and  administering 
to  their  necessities.  It  was  a  fact  unexampled  in  institutions  of 
the  kind,  that  every  article  of  diet  was  served  to  the  sick  on 
silver  plate.  Once  a  year,  in  token  of  humihation,  the  knights 
washed  the  feet  of  the  poor. 

The  hospital  now  devoted  to  the  indigent  sick,  is  limited  in 
its  means  of  relief.  The  inmates  only  average  about  one  hun- 
dred. But  they  are  well  provided  for,  being  humanely  and 
skilfully  treated,  and  neatness  and  order  prevail  in  the  establish- 
ment.    It  has  been  built  up  by  the  English. 

There  is  also  in  Malta  a  Foundling  Institution.  But  I  am  not 
sure  that  the  good  it  produces  more  than  countervails  the  evil 
which  it  encourages,  if  it  does  not  create.  Foundling  Institu- 
tions frequently  become  lures  to  the  promiscuous  commerce  of 
the  sexes.  I  honour  the  benevolent  motives  of  their  projectors 
and  patrons ;  but  I  cannot  shut  my  eyes  to  the  abuses  of  such 
philanthropy.  If  the  opening  of  receptacles  for  illegitimate 
children  may  in  some  instances  prevent  infanticide,  in  many  more 
it  tempts  to  that  licentiousness  which  entails  upon  the  commu- 
nity a  progeny  of  pitiable  outcasts ;  and  in  the  case  of  mothers,  it 
leads  too  often  to  confirmed  habits  of  shamelessness  and  impu- 


246  MALTA 

rity.  An  institution  of  another  sort  is  needed  in  Malta,  namely, 
a  Magdalen  Asylum.  Notwithstanding  the  irregularities  which 
prevail  between  the  sexes,  and  the  many  deluded  females  who, 
I  doubt  not,  would  fain  retrace  their  steps  to  the  paths  of  virtue, 
or  more  properly  the  paths  of  penitence,  there  is  here  no  chari- 
table retreat,  no  house  of  refuge,  for  such  miserables. 

The  late  Marquis  of  Hastings  was  the  founder  of  an  excel- 
lent institution,  located  just  outside  of  the  city,  at  Florian.  It  is 
calledjhe  House  of  Industry.  It  was  established  for  the  pur- 
pose of  giving  employment  and  subsistence  to  a  portion  of  the 
poor  taken  from  the  streets.  The  institution  has  been  in  opera- 
tion two  years,  and  it  has  been  found  expedient  within  that  time 
to  modify  considerably  the  original  plan. 

At  first,  idlers  and  paupers,  as  many  as  could  be  received, 
were  gathered  in  without  discrimination.  But  the  laziness  of  the 
major  part  of  them  was  found  too  inveterate  to  be  overcome. 
They  were  worse  than  drones  in  the  institution,  and  they  sighed 
for  the  freedom  of  the  streets,  though  bought  at  the  penalty  of 
the  most  precarious  livelihood  in  dirt  and  rags.  The  plan  nex 
adopted  and  which  is  still  prosecuted,  was  to  admit,  not  common 
mendicants,  but  the  needy  members  of  reduced  families  and 
especially  poor  orphans.  The  females  are  taught  to  braid  straw 
and  make  it  into  bonnets,  to  sew,  spin  and  weave,  to  work  laces 
and  ornamental  cotton  trimmings.  The  boys  are  employed  in 
making  mats  and  straw  hats,  picking  raw  cotton,  and  in  other  suit- 
able occupations.  The  cotton  of  the  island  though  a  valuable 
staple  for  durability,  has  a  brownish  shade,  and  the  stuffs  wrought 
from  it  in  this  institution  have  a  coarse  and  dingy  look.  The 
specimens  of  straw  fabric  which  I  saw,  were  very  neat.  They 
are  made  on  the  plan  of  the  Framingham  manufacture  in  Mas- 
sachusetts ;  the  mode  having  been  taught  the  present  overseer 
of  the  department,  by  an  American  lady,  the  late  excellent 
Mrs  T . 

Recent  enlargements  of  the  House  of  Industry  give  accommo- 
dations to  two  hundred  and  eightysix  poor,  instead  of  one  hun- 
dred,  the   number  with  which  it  went  into  operation.     The 


HOUSE  OF  INDUSTRY  —  ALMSHOUSE.  247 

building  is  provided  with  courts,  fountains  and  corridors,  and  is 
kept  perfectly  neat.  It  has  a  chapel  wherein  mass  is  celebra- 
ted every  morning.  The  institution  does  not  now  support  itself, 
but  it  probably  will.  The  board  of  the  poor,  for  each,  is  four 
pence  sterling  a  day,  or  about  twentyseven  Spanish  dollars 
yearly.  They  have  abundance  of  food,  viz.  a  pound  and  a  half 
of  bread,  three  ounces  of  maccaroon,  and  an  allowance  of  hard 
peas,  beans,  or  something  tantamount  for  soup,  per  diem. 
They  are  roused  in  the  morning  at  '  gun-fire,'  dine  at  half  past 
eleven,  and  go  to  bed  at  dusk.  Twenty  yards  of  cotton  cloth 
wrought  in  one  loom,  are  considered  a  good  day's  task  for 
a  single  hand.  J  saw  a  few  very  old  persons  in  the  establish- 
ment ;  one,  still  capable  of  working,  is  nearly  a  hundred  years 
of  age.  Longevity  is  not  unusual  in  the  island,  and  it  is  ascri- 
bable  to  habits  of  abstemiousness  and  hard  labour.  —  Contrasted 
with  the  aged,  there  was  an  interesting  group  of  children,  whom 
I  saw  in  an  apartment  by  themselves,  all  girls,  forty  or  more  in 
number.  They  were  seated  on  mats,  each  with  a  little  spinning- 
wheel  before  her,  neatly  painted,  which  they  were  plying  very 
busily.  I  was  struck  with  their  clean  and  cheerful  appearance. 
Their  sparkling  black  eyes  were  beaming  with  contentment. 

Applications  for  admission  must  be  made  on  certain  days,  to 
a  committee  of  managers  called  a  Board  of  Controul.  The 
claims  of  the  poor  are  then  investigated,  and  if  deemed  sufficient, 
the  candidates  are  received  on  trial.  A  short  time  ago,  sixteen 
young  and  middle-aged  females  suddenly  quitted  the  House> 
taking  French  leave.  They  complained  of  the  irksomeness  of  the 
confinement,  and  their  constant  employment.  The  superintend- 
ent is  confident  that  ,they  will  soon  return  and  seek  admission 
into  the  institution  again,  and  thought  it  was  well  that  they  should 
learn  experimentally,  by  contrast,  the  benefits  of  a  residence 
here.  —  There  are  from  fifteen  to  eighteen  attendants  and  sub- 
overseers  attached  to  the  establishment. 

Not  far  from  the  House  of  Industry  is  another  Asylum  for 
the  poor,  an  elder  institution,  much  on  the  plan  of  the  old  Boston 
Almshouse.     It  differs  from  die  House  of  Industry  in  being  a 


248  MALTA. 

public  establishment,  instead  of  a  voluntary  foundation  by  indi- 
viduals. The  poor,  as  in  the  other  retreat,  are  mostly  em- 
ployed. The  exceptions  are  the  very  aged  and  the  infirm. 
The  number  of  beneficiaries  is  six  hundred. 

Attached  to  this  building  is  a  department  for  the  Insane. 
Thirty  patients  are  on  the  present  list.  I  conversed  with  one 
who  was  pointed  out  as  an  object  of  peculiar  sympathy.  He 
was  a  gentleman  of  good  family,  and  formerly  a  lawyer  of  re- 
spectability. His  appearance  and  address  were  very  much  in 
his  favour ;  and  in  the  course  of  conversation  I  could  detect 
nothing  which  marked  an  aberration  of  Intellect.  But,  alas,  it 
was  only  a  short,  lucid  interval.  He  complained  bitterly  of  his 
confinement,  and  earnestly  requested  that  a  representation  might 
be  made  of  his  cruel  duress  in  order  to  his  liberation. 

But  a  more  affecting  case  of  insanity  was  that  of  an  English- 
man. He  had  been  master  of  a  merchant  vessel,  and  married 
a  woman  on  whom  he  doated.  Two  children  were  the  fruit  of 
their  union.  He  went  on  a  voyage  to  Alexandria,  was  absent 
some  time,  and  on  his  return  had  cause  to  suspect  his  wife  of 
unfaithfulness.  His  fears  were  confirmed  by  evidence  not  to  be 
mistaken.  An  infant  was  born,  of  which  he  could  not  be  the 
father.  His  jealousy  and  grief  combined  to  unsettle  his  reason. 
At  length,  his  madness  became  fixed  and  hopeless,  and  it  was 
necessary  to  confine  him  here.  The  property  of  the  unhappy 
man,  in  consequence  of  his  inability  to  look  after  it,  has  been 
mostly  dissipated.  Even  his  children  have  been  obliged  to  take 
up  their  abode  in  this  house  of  woe.  His  madness  seems  more 
that  of  abstraction  and  deep  preying  melancholy,  than  a  raving 
insanity.  I  was  informed  that  the  wife  died  not  long  since,  a 
victim  to  remorse  and  a  broken  heart. 

The  Foundling  Hospital,  already  spoken  of,  is  another  branch 
of  the  same  great  Asylum  for  the  poor.  In  commenting  on  the 
'  morale  '  of  such  an  institution,  I  omitted  to  remark  on  the  man- 
agement of  this  established  in  Malta.  —  Infants  are  left  in  a 
basket  which  is  statedly  kept  at  the  outer  gate  of  the  hospital. 
Any  mother  may  deposit  her  babe  in  it,  and  no  questions  are 


MONTE  DI  PIETA-CONSERVATORIO.  249 

asked.  A  bell  is  rung  to  give  notice,  and  a  turn  of  the  wheel 
introduces  the  forlorn  little  being  to  its  stranger  protectors.  I 
saw  three  poor  outcasts  which  had  been  received  very  recently. 
They  were  in  the  charge  of  a  single  nurse.  During  the  last 
month,  eight  foundlings  had  been  left  at  the  gate.  The  infants 
are  all  nourished  on  goat's  milk.  I  was  told  that  the  average 
mortality  among  them  is  great,  but  the  exact  proportion  I  did 
not  learn. 

Malta  has  an  institution  called  Monte  di  Pieta,  a  sort  of 
public  pawn-broker's  shop,  on  an  extensive  scale  and  under 
government  patronage.  It  is  managed  by  respectable  and  re- 
sponsible commissioners.  The  design  is  to  accommodate  the 
poor  with  ready  money  advanced  on  certain  deposites,  such  as 
clothing,  furniture,  and  persona]  ornaments.  Articles  of  dress, 
if  not  redeemed  in  eighteen  months,  are  sold  at  auction ;  jewels 
are  suffered  to  remain  three  years  before  a  sale.  Should  the 
price  they  bring  exceed  the  sum  advanced  on  the  deposite,  the 
balance  is  paid  over  to  the  original  possessors.  The  Maltese, 
especially  the  females,  are  much  attached  to  their  ornaments, 
which  frequently  descend  through  several  generations.  In  this 
respect  they  resemble  our  North  American  Indians.  It  is  not 
uncommon  to  find  a  woman  wretchedly  poor  in  other  respects, 
possessed  of  jewels  of  considerable  value.  When  they  are  com- 
pelled to  pledge  them,  they  generally  contrive^  by  some  means, 
to  redeem  them  before  the  time  of  forfeiture  comes  round. 

At  Burmola,  there  is  a  singular  establishment  deserving  notice. 
It  is  called  a  Conservatorio.  It  is  a  retreat  for  certain  aged  people 
disgusted  with  the  world  ;  but  it  is  chiefly  remarkable  as  a  place 
of  incarceration,  likewise,  where  the  men  of  the  world  may  shut 
up  their  female  relatives.  Husbands  may  imprison  their  wives 
there,  and  parents  their  children,  on  pretexts  which  in  better  regu- 
lated communities  would  not  often  be  tolerated.  It  is  a  pity  that 
in  Malta  there  is  not  a  place  where  women  may  shut  up  the  men. 
They  would  form,  I  am  sure,  quite  the  larger  class.  But  per- 
haps the  number  of  offenders  would  defeat  such  a  plan,  or  re- 
quire a  substitute  something  on  the  ground  of  Swift's  scheme 
32 


250  MALTA. 

for  Lunatics,  who  proposed  a  hospital  for  secluding  the  few  truly 
sane,  and  letting  the  multitude  of  the  mad  continue  to  go  at 
large. 

The  Conservatorio  differs  from  a  nunnery  in  the  circumstance, 
that  confinement  in  its  walls  is  not  necessarily  perpetual.  A 
parent  who  places  his  daughter  there,  sometimes  purposes  the 
residence  to  be  no  longer  than  till  he  can  procure  for  her  a 
husband,  or  some  reputable  situation  in  life.  Meanwhile,  his 
object  is  to  keep  her  out  of  harm's  way.  This  is  not  altogether 
unwise  ;  but  the  motives  of  husbands  may  be  piques,  jealousies, 
(with  or  without  reason,)  and  even  a  desire  sometimes  to  carry 
on  a  criminal '  liaison '  without  inteference  from  the  presence 
of  a  wife. 

The  maidens  of  Malta  are  marriageable  very  early.  Girlhood 
in  America  is  womanhood  here.  They  become  wives  frequently 
at  twelve,  thirteen  and  fourteen  years  of  age,  and  some  have 
been  wedded  even  earlier.  Usually,  the  selection  of  husbands 
is  not  left  to  their  discretion.  A  lady  of  my  acquaintance  lately 
consented  to  take  into  her  family  a  Maltese  girl  not  quite  fourteen 
years  old,  whom,  if  she  proved  worthy,  she  meant  to  keep  for 
some  years  or  bring  up  as  we  call  it.  But  the  lass  it  seems  had 
been  already  brought  up.  She  had  not  been  with  her  mistress 
above  a  month,  when  she  told  her  that  she  was  going  to  leave 
and  be  married.  The  lady  asked  her  who  was  to  be  her  hus- 
band ?  The  reply  was,  '  She  didn't  know ;  —  her  mother  had 
made  the  match,  and  she  doubted  not  it  was  a  good  one.  Besides, 
it  was  so  pretty  a  thing  to  be  married  ! '  Expostulation  was  in 
vain.     The  girl  left  an  excellent  place  and  is  now  a  wife. 

From  inquiries  which  I  have  made,  I  am  satisfied  that  a  con- 
siderable proportion  of  the  inmates  of  nunneries  are  placed  there 
by  coercion,  more  or  less  direct.  Add  to  these,  such  who  enter 
them  for  the  sake  of  a  home  and  subsistence,  or  from  being 
crossed  in  love,  or  soured  with  the  world  from  other  causes,  and 
the  number  of  those  who  take  the  veil  from  motives  of  real  piety 
is  small.  I  was  assured  by  a  Maltese  gentleman,  himself 
a  protestant,  that  a  young  lady,  his  cousin,  was  not  long   ago 


vows  —  MORALS.  251 

forced  to  enter  a  convent  as  a  novice.  Her  parents  were  rigid 
Catholics.  The  lady  by  some  means  escaped  before  the  expi- 
ration of  the  year,  but  her  retreat  was  discovered.  She  was 
seized  and  closely  confined,  till  her  consent  was  extorted  to 
renounce  the  world,  and  to  take  upon  her  the  final  and  indisso- 
luble vows  of  a  nun. 

Christianity  approves  itself  to  sound  reason,  by  inculcating 
principles  in  strict  coincidence  with  the  laws  and  dictates  of 
nature.  In  place  of  forbidding,  it  authorizes,  and  seeks  to 
elevate  and  hallow  the  natural  affections.  The  charities  of  home 
and  kindred,  and  the  relation  of  husbands  and  wives,  of  parents 
and  children  it  directly  countenances.  But  popery  sets  itself 
in  array  against  such  wise  institutions.  It  requires,  or  at  least, 
it  invites  a  numerous  class  of  men  and  women  to  be  separated 
from  society,  and  to  be  immured  for  life  in  gloomy  cloisters. 
The  avowed  pretext  is,  to  trim  there  the  lamp  of  religion.  But 
a  sickly  taper  it  must  be  at  the  best.  Under  the  semblance  of 
purity,  licentiousness  is  often  masked.  Even  if  the  letter  of 
monastic  vows  be  not  broken,  and  sexual  intercourse  be  scru- 
pulously barred,  pollution  may  reign  in  the  thoughts  and  the  evil 
be  only  driven  in.  An  uncorrupt  body  and  a  corrupt  soul,  are 
not  the  strangest  alliance  in  nature.  The  confession  of  Rosseau, 
(no  religionist  I  grant,)  may  apply  to  many  a  monk  and  nun, — 
who  says  of  himself  at  a  certain  period  of  life,  that  '  he  had  lost 
his  purity,'  though  he  had  retained  '  son  pucelage.' 

Lord  Charleraont,  who  visited  Malta  during  the  Grand  Mas- 
tership of  Emanuel  Pinto,  reflects  severely  on  the  morals  of  the 
Maltese  women,  or  rather  the  ladies  then  resident  on  the 
island  ;  for  many  fair  ones  resorted  hither,  he  acknowledges,  to 
find  a  market  for  their  charms.  He  says  with  a  sneer,  that  '  the 
few  virtuous  women,  natives  of  the  island,  are  retired  to  Medina, 
an  inland  city,  where  they  live  tolerably  free  from  solicitation, 
not  so  much  on  account  of  their  distance,  as  because  the  Mal- 
tese blood  has  too  much  of  the  Moor  in  it  to  be  exceedingly 
tempting.' 


252  MALTA. 

In  justice  to  the  grand-mothers  of  the  present  generation,  it  is 
to  be  hoped  that  a  better  reason  may  be  assigned  for  the  security 
of  '  the  hw,^  and  that  many  more  there  were,  too  strongly  in- 
trenched in  virtuous  principles  to  admit  a  parley  with  libertinism. 
In  any  event,  his  lordship's  account  reflects  much  more  on  the 
character  of  an  order  of  men  who  were  sworn  alike  to  celibacy 
and  continency.  The  earl,  it  should  be  remembered,  visited 
the  knights  in  '  the  piping  times  of  peace,'  when  luxury  had 
begun  to  enervate  their  virtue  and  their  valour ;  and  when  in  the 
pursuits  of  pleasure  they  preferred  to  content  themselves  with 
the  martial  glory,  and  to  repose  in  the  shade  of  the  laurels,  which 
had  been  won  by  their  gallant  predecessors.  His  testimony  goes 
to  confirm  the  uselessness  of  mere  vows  of  chastity.  ^^ 

The  native  Maltese,  particularly  the  women,  do  not  assimilate 
easily  to  the  English.  They  prefer  their  ancient  manners  and 
usages.  The  females,  high  and  low,  are  not  more  tenacious  of 
their  hereditary  costume,  than  of  various  other  peculiarities.  I 
have  heard  of  one  native  family,  which  is  a  case  of  exception  ; 
and  on  account  of  its  imitation  of  foreign  modes  and  fashions,  it 
is  called  the  English  family.  Of  course,  it  is  more  shunned 
than  courted  by  the  other  Maltese. 

It  used  to  be  a  saying  among  the  old  heads  of  Malta,  that 
women  should  never  appear  abroad  but  twice  in  their  life-time, 
namely,  on  the  days  of  their  marriage  and  burial.  The  proverb, 
by  the  way,  looks  of  Arabian  origin,  and  very  likely  it  was  in- 
troduced by  the  Saracens,  the  remote  ancestors  of  the  present 
race  of  islanders.  A  French  traveller  in  Malta,  forty  years  ago, 
remarked,  that,  so  careful  then  were  the  native  women  to  shun 
observation  abroad,  they  were  in  the  custom  of  stealing  out  very 
early  to  their  prayers  closely  wrapped  in  their  mantles.  If  so, 
their  habits  have  prodigiously  changed  ;  for  now  they  constitute 
a  large  portion  of  the  throng  in  the  streets  every  hour  of  the 
day.  They  never  stir  from  home,  it  is  true,  without  their  black 
mufflers,  but  they  contrive  to  be  seen,  as  well  as  to  see,  despite 
of  them.     This  curious  covering,  (called  by  themselves  Ornilla, 


FESTIVALS  —  ST  GREGORY.  253 

tliougli  in  Italian  Faldetta,)  the  younger  women  wear  not  un- 
gracefully ;  and  from  looking  upon  it  at  first  as  very  unbecoming, 
I  have  come  to  regard  it  as  almost  ornamental. 

Some  customs  mentioned  of  the  Maltese  by  old  authors,.! 
find  still  prevalent.  Married  women  stipulate  with  their  hus- 
bands on  the  day  of  espousals,  that  they  shall  be  taken  to  the 
three  annual  festivals  of  St  John,  Sts  Peter-Paul,  and  St  Gre- 
gory. A  condition  like  this,  secured  on  such  an  occasion,  seems 
to  indicate  their  having  no  great  idea  of  the  natural  complaisance 
of  their  bridegrooms.  The  country  people  are  punctilious  in 
the  exaction.  St  John's  day  is  celebrated  in  Valetta,  St  Peter- 
Paul's,  at  the  Old  City,  and  St  Gregory's,  at  Casal  Zeitun. 

On  the  second  of  these  festivals^  an  unusual  number  of  mar- 
riages are  celebrated,  as  the  day  is  deemed  peculiarly  propitious 
for  such  connexions.  Girls  who  are  married  from  the  House 
of  Industry  and  other  charitable  asylums,  avail  themselves  of 
that  occasion  by  special  preference.  A  couple,  whose  union  is 
sanctioned  by  those  institutions,  receive  a  bridal  gratuity  in 
money  amounting  to  about  ten  dollars. 

But  the  great  fete  is  St  Gregory's.  The  origin  of  the  festival 
is  said  to  be  this  :  —  In  the  olden  time,  Malta  was  visited  by  a 
plague  of  locusts  which  Came  from  Africa.  They  ravaged  the 
island,  and  were  devouring  every  green  thing,  when  an  expe- 
dient was  hit  upon  to  stop  their  devastations.  This  was  no  less 
than  to  bring  forth  the  image  of  St  Gregory,  that  the  sight  of  it 
might  awe  and  repel  the  wicked  invaders.  It  was  done.  A 
procession  was  decreed.  The  statue  of  the  saint  was  produced. 
There  were  prayers  and  there  were  chants,  and  the  pious 
scheme  succeeded.  The  locusts  not  only  bowed  their  sheaves 
to  Gregory's  sheaf,  but  took  wing,  and  left  him  and  his  votaries 
in  unmolested  possession  of  every  green  blade  which  had  escaped 
their  unholy  voracity.     So  much  for  the  legend. 

The  plain  fact  now-a-days  is,  that  once  every  year  a  proces- 
sion moves  from  Florian  and  the  neighbouring  burgh  of  Casal 
Neuf  to  Casal  Zeitun.     It  is  composed  of  all  the  societies,  the 


254  MALTA. 

canons  of  the  Cathedral,  and  the  bishop  in  state.  It  sets  forth 
with  the  cry  of  '  Misericorde  ! '  thrice  repeated  by  the  whole  peo- 
ple. The  effigy  of  St  Gregory  is  borne  high  and  resplendent 
in  the  midst ;  and  the  multitude  do  homage  to  his  miraculous 
powers  of  intercession.  The  procession  takes  place  in  the 
morning  ;  the  remainder  of  the  day  is  devoted  to  the  amusements 
and  festivities  of  a  fete  champetre.  So  great  is  the  interest  ex- 
cited by  the  anniversary,  that  Valetta  is  almost  emptied  of  its 
population,  and  caleches  let  for  five  dollars  on  that  day,  which 
at  other  times  might  be  hired  for  as  many  carlins.  ^^ 


CHAPTER   IX, 


MALTA. 

University.  —  College  of  Priests.  —  Schools.  —  A  Protestant  Convert.  —  Reli- 
gious Fanaticism.  —  Dr  Pinkerton  and  the  Bible  Society.  —  Sinister  Influence 
of  the  Government  5  Causes. —  British  Colonies.  —  Fate  of  the  Knights.  — A 
Motto.  —  Prospect  of  Mt.  yEtna  and  the  Shore  of  Sicily  —  Remarks  on  the 
Phenomenon.  —  Penitential  Pilgrimages.  —  A  Parade.  —  Further  Observa- 
tions on  the  Appearance  of  ^tna.  —  Prayers  and  Masses  for  the  Dead.  —  Air 
of  Malta.  —  The  Author  at  Home.  —  Invasion  of  the  Island  by  the  French.  — 
Fleet  of  Buonaparte.  —  Comparison  between  Hompesch  and  La  Valette.  — 
Siege  by  the  English.  —  Sufferings  of  the  Inhabitants. — Gen.  Vaubois. — 
Fall  of  Malta.  —  Parting  Retrospect. 

La  Valetta  ;  March  2. — The  means  of  education  among 
such  a  swarming  population  as  this  of  Malta,  are  interesting  ob- 
jects of  attention.  I  have  forborne  to  speak  of  them  until  I  was 
possessed  of  the  requisite  materials  of  information ;  and  though 
I  have  collected  them  all,  in  truth,  they  are  very  scanty. 

Malta  has  one  University.  It  is  seated  in  the  capital.  For- 
merly it  was  the  college  of  the  Jesuits ;  but  when  that  Order 
was  abolished  by  Ganganelli,  (Clement  Fourteenth,)  in  1773,  the 
revenues  of  the  College  were  taken  possession  of  by  the  reign- 
ing Grand  Master,  and  applied  to  the  purposes  of  Literature. 
They  were  then  estimated  at  twelve  thousand  scudes,  or  five 
thousand  dollars.  The  original  plan  of  discipline,  instruction 
and  oversight,  adopted  for  the  University,  has  been  considerably 
modified  in  the  hands  of  the  English,  chiefly  under  the  govern- 
ment of  Sir  Thomas  Maitland. 

The  present  arrangement  is  this  ; — first,  there  is  a  superviso- 
ry body  called  the  Council  of  Six,  answering  substantially  to 


256 


MALTA. 


the  corporation  of  Harvard  College.  It  consists  of  the  Chief 
Secretary  of  the  Colonial  Government,  (Sir  Frederick  Han- 
key,)  the  chief  Judge,  and  an  associate  Justice  of  the  island, 
together  with  three  Maltese  barons.  A  Rector  is  the  immediate 
presiding  officer  of  the  University.  Next  come  the  professors, 
twelve  in  number,  in  the  several  departments  of  Scholastic  Di- 
vinity, Divinity  proper,  Civil  Law,  Moral  Philosophy,  Natural 
Philosophy,  Navigation,  Medicine,  Surgery,  Botany,  Chemistry 
and  Pharmacy,  Rhetoric,  Drawing  and  Painting.  Lastly,  there 
are  four  tutors,  appointed  to  the  several  languages  of  English, 
Italian,  Latin  and  Arabic.  No  provision  is  made  for  instruction 
in  Greek,  whether  ancient  or  modern.  There  are  three  hund- 
red students.  They  pay  a  Sicilian  dollar  monthly  for  tuition, 
during  term  time.  Vacation  embraces  two  months  of  Summer. 
The  annual  amount  of  fees,  therefore,  is  only  ten  dollars.  And 
even  this  is  remitted  to  the  meritorious  poor  on  a  proper  repre- 
sentation of  their  straitened  circumstances.  The  dollar  nionth- 
ly  allows  the  student  to  attend,  ad  libitum^  the  lectures  of  any  of 
the  instructers.  Nearly  all  of  the  pupils  are  natives  of  Malta, 
though  some  come  hither  from  Sicily  and  Greece.  The  Uni- 
versity gives  degrees  in  Divinity,  Medicine,  and  Law.  Four 
years'  attendance  on  the  Lectures  are  requisite  for  securing  the 
college  diplomas. 

The  value  of  the  Divinity  taught  in  the  institution  maybe  judg- 
ed from  the  fact,  that  the  two  Professors  in  Theology  are  monks, 
one  a  Franciscan,  the  other  an  Augustinian.  The  technics  of 
the  schools  are  the  rules  of  instruction.  The  mind  is  trammel- 
ed and  hampered  with  the  dialectics  of  Aristotle,  and  thought 
and  inquiry  are  made  to  run  in  the  artificial  directions  of  the 
old  iron  rail-ways. 

There  is  a  college  at  Citta  Vecchia.  It  gives  no  degrees  and 
can  scarcely  be  called  a  Literary  institution.  Strictly,  it  is  a 
seminary  of  Catholic  priests.  It  has  considerable  property  in 
lands  which  yield  rents.  The  students,  about  one  hundred  in 
number,  live  in  commons,  and  pay  six  Maltese  crowns  a  month, — 
two  dollars  and  eightyeight  cents,  —  cheap  enough. 


SCHOOLS  —  A  CONVERT.  257 

A  Lancastrian  school  is  established  at  Valetta.  It  is  called 
the  Normal.  It  was  set  up  by  subscription,  but  is  now  chiefly 
supported  by  the  government.  Three  hundred  children  are  on 
the  list  of  the  school.  The  director  and  head  teacher,  Mr  N — , 
is  a  very  worthy  and  enterprising  man.  Another  school  of  the 
kind  has  been  opened  at  Casal  Zeitun.  It  was  founded  by  the 
the  munificence  of  a  Spanish  resident  in  Malta,  Don  Alberto  de 
Megino.  A  hundred  children  attend.  Previously,  it  was  proved 
that  in  a  population  of  four  thousand  contained  in  that  burgh, 
not  more  than  twenty  persons  could  read.  Several  private 
schools  have  been  instituted  in  Valetta  and  its  suburbs  for  the 
natives  and  others.  But  there  is  no  school,  at  present,  conduct- 
ed by  an  English  teacher.  The  number  of  the  native  poor 
Maltese,  who  can  read  or  write,  is  exceedingly  small.  It  scarce 
forms  an  exception  to  the  character  of  general  and  complete 
illiteracy. 

Some  incidents  in  the  personal  history  of  one  of  the  profes- 
sors of  the  University,  are  interesting  and  instructive. 

Dr  Nahdi,  the  gentleman  to  whom  I  refer,  is  a  native  of 
Malta.  He  was  born  and  bred  a  Catholic  ;  but  on  arriving  at 
mature  age,  his  inquisitive  mind  put  him  upon  investigating  the 
comparative  claims  of  Popery  and  Protestantism.  He  studied 
and  meditated  profoundly,  and  was  assisted  in  his  researches  by 
the  judicious  counsels  and  suggestions  of  Mr  W — ,an  enlightened 
and  serious  friend.  The  result  was  a  renouncement  of  the 
Catholic  faith,  and  an  open  confession  of  the  great  principles  of 
Protestantism. 

Prior  to  this  event,  the  opportunities  of  observation  enjoyed 
by  Dr  Nahdi,  had  been  extensive.  He  prosecuted  his  medi- 
cal studies  five  years  at  Naples,  where  he  took  his  degrees. 
Afterwards,  he  spent  nearly  three  years  in  London  to  improve 
his  professional  acquisitions,  attending  Guy's,  Thomas',  and  Bar- 
tholomew's hospitals,  and  reaping  other  advantages.  He  com- 
menced business  in  Malta  under  very  favourable  auspices.  His 
practice  was  lucrative,  and  it  continued  to  flourish  till  the  change 
of  his  views  on  the  subject  of  religion,  and  his  declared  revolt 
33 


258  MALTA. 

from  Popery.  Then  his  popularity  was  assailed  and  shaken  ; 
and  soon  it  fell  to  the  ground.  Patients,  instead  of  seeking  him 
for  healing,  turned  from  him  in  horror.  His  enemies  were  they 
of  his  own  household,  for  among  his  bitterest  opposers  were 
Some  of  his  nearer  relatives.  The  sweets  of  many  friendships 
he  was  permitted  no  longer  to  enjoy,  and  the  scripture  was  ful- 
filled to  his  sad  experience,  which  says,  '  yea  my  own  familiar 
friend  in  whom  I  trusted,  which  did  eat  of  my  bread,  hath  lifted 
up  the  heel  against  me.' 

Yet  none  of  these  things  seem  to  have  moved  him.  Dr  N. 
appears  firmly  anchored  on  the  rock  of  Protestantism  ;  but  he 
assured  me,  that  nothing  but  divine  support,  he  feels,  could  have 
carried  him  through  the  fiery  ordeal,  which  he  has  passed. 
Happily,  though  his  professional  practice  is  very  limited,  and  his 
pecuniary  means  are  slender,  he  enjoys  a  place  of  respectability 
in  the  University,  where  he  fills  the  chair  of  professor  of  Chem- 
istry and  Pharmacy.  It  is  a  situafion  of  small  profit,  but  even 
this  has  been  grudged  him  by  his  enemies.  The  supreme  gov- 
ernment, however,  of  that  institution,  being  in  the  hands  of  the 
English,  —  at  least,  it  is  moulded  by  their  will  whenever  they 
choose  to  exercise  it.  —  they  very  properly  interposed  in  the 
case  of  Dr  N.  and  would  not  suffer  his  expulsion  from  office. 

This  gentleman  is  a  soberly  serious,  as  well  as  an  enlightened 
man.  In  my  calls  upon  him,  of  a  morning,  I  have  found  him 
engaged  in  reading  a  copy  of  the  Scriptures  in  the  Arabic  or  in 
the  original  tongues,  with  an  English  version  at  hand  for  compar- 
ison. He  has  a  valuable  library  of  works  in  the  Latin,  Greek, 
Arabic,  Italian,  French  and  English  languages.  From  the  Doc- 
tor I  learn,  that  the  number  on  the  island  who  are  invesfigating 
the  truth,  is  more  encouraging  than  my  first  inquiries  had  led 
me  to  believe.  They  are  not  of  the  lowest  orders,  but  in  gene- 
ral they  are  poor.  One,  however,  who  is  very  favourably  in- 
clined to  Protestantism,  is  quite  wealthy.  At  his  house,  Dr  N. 
meets  a  few  Maltese  for  the  purpose  of  religious  instruction  every 
Thursday  and  Sunday  evening.  By  going  there,  more  are 
assembled  than   would   come  to  his  own  residence.    For  this 


FANATICISM. 


259 


*  Joseph'  of  Malta,  —  I.  mean  the  rich  man,  —  has  not  openly 
come  out  from  tlie  circumcision  ;  and  if  he  be  a  true  disciple,  it 
is  secretly  for  fear  of  the  priesdiood.  The  power  and  temper  of 
the  latter  are  much  what  their  Jewish  prototypes  displayed  in  the 
times  of  the  aposdes.  The  English  government  here  answers 
to  die  Roman  in  Jerusalem,  as  exercised  by  Pilate.  It  retains 
exclusively  the  power  of  life  and  dead],  of  course  ;  but  it  leaves 
the  Catholic  priesthood  in  all  other  diings  to  manage  affairs 
much  as  they  choose. 

Fifteen  or  twenty  persons  usually  attend  the  Thursday  ex- 
ercise of  Dr  Nahdi.  He  replies  to  questions  which  are  put, 
obviates  difficulties  and  objections,  illustrates  the  principles  of 
Protestantism  and  the  simplicity  of  Biblical  truth,  exposes  Po- 
pery, and  refutes  its  maxims  and  pretensions  from  the  counter 
authority  of  revelation,  the  volume  of  which  lies  before  him  at 
such  times  for  reference.  On  Sunday  evenings,  the  Doctor 
meets  a  smaller  number,  reads  to  them  a  protestant  discourse? 
and  leads  their  devotions.  The  labours  of  such  a  man,  —  his 
piety,  fervour  and  sound  practical  sense,  —  must  eventuate  in 
good.     May  they  meet  with  a  large  reward  ! 

Missionaries,  in  their  zeal  to  promote  the  cause  which  they 
advocate,  should  be  careful  to  join  the  wisdom  of  the  serpent  to 
the  harmlessness  of  doves.  That  die  missionary  gendemen  in 
Malta  possess  the  double  qualities,  I  would  by  no  means  ques- 
tion. There  is  reason  to  believe  that  they  uniformly  aim  to 
temper  their  zeal  widi  becoming  prudence.  But  unfortunately, 
they  have  been  wronged  by  die  indiscreet  conduct  of  some  who 
w^ere  called  their  friends. 

Two  years  ago,  in  the  litde  congregation  of  English  Inde- 
pendents, there  were  two  officers,  —  a  captain  of  ardllery,  and 
a  subaltern,  —  alike  distinguished  for  their  fanatical  opposition 
to  Popery.  It  happened  on  some  Catholic  festival  that  the 
former  was  in  command  of  one  of  the  forts  in  the  harbour,  and 
being  ordered  to  fire  a  salute  in  honour  of  the  saint  to  whom  the 
festival  belonged,  he  peremptorily  refused.  The  salute  was  a 
thing  of  established  etiquette.      His  disobedience  he  defended  ovk 


260  MALTA. 

the  plea  that  no  christian  should  offer  incense  to  Baal,  which  he 
interpreted  into  a  prohibition  to  burn  gunpowder  in  homage  of 
a  papist's  idol.  For  his  contempt  of  orders,  he  was  tried  by  a 
Court  Martial,  and  cashiered.  The  subaltern,  for  some  cause, 
was  convicted  as  '  particeps  criminis,'  and  in  like  manner  dis- 
missed the  service.     He  has  since  turned  Methodist  preacher. 

The  captain,  on  a  former  occasion,  when  a  religious  festival 
was  celebrated  in  St  John's,  and  the  area  of  the  church  was 
crowded  with  devotees,  offered  the  most  pointed  insults  to  the 
place  and  the  service,  —  wearing  his  military  cap,  uttering 
offensive  expressions,  and  even  spitting  on  the  pavement. 
The  last  was  an  unpardonable  affront  in  the  eyes  of  a  Catholic. 
The  officer  found  to  his  cost  that  he  had  proceeded  too  far..  The 
congregation  were  enraged  to  madness,  and  began  to  press  upon 
him.  He  retreated ;  a  mob  followed.  With  the  utmost  pre- 
cipitation he  made  for  the  fort,  which  he  reached  with  difficul- 
ty, and  within  its  gates  only  found  protection  for  his  very  life. 
For,  such  was  the  exasperation  of  the  multitude,  that  had  he 
been  seized,  no  doubt  he  would  have  been  torn  piecemeal.  The 
popular  indignation  was  satiated  at  the  moment  by  breaking  the 
windows  of  the  chapel  where  he  commonly  worshipped. 

These  instances  of  fanaticism  have  been  remembered  to  be 
severely  visited  upon  the  heads  of  the  unoffending.  The  worthy 
gentlemen  at  the  head  of  the  several  missionary  establishments 
in  Malta,  would  probably  condemn  such  excesses  as  readily  as 
other  men  ;  for  they  are  not  devoid  of  discernment,  and  can 
perceive  very  clearly  their  injurious  tendencies  in  relation  to  the 
cause  which  they  have  espoused.  But  so  it  is,  that  they  have 
suffered  for  what  they  had  no  controul  over.  Hated  by  the 
Catholics,  jeered  at  as  Methodists  by  the  Episcopalians,  they 
are  looked  upon  by  government  with  something  more  than  cold- 
ness. Previously  to  the  affair  of  the  officer  which  occasioned 
his  dismissal,  the  missionaries  had  been  active  in  distributing 
Tracts  among  the  islanders  and  the  Catholic  portion  of  the  sol- 
diery. But  the  displeasure  of  the  government  and  of  the  military 
authorities  was  strongly  expressed  against  such  a  proceeding ; 


BIBLE  CAUSE  261 

and  now  the  Tracts,  printed  here,  are  obliged  to  be  sent  off  the 
island  for  circulation. 

When  Dr  Pinkerton  visited  Malta  about  three  years  ago,  as 
agent  of  the  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society,  he  recommend- 
ed the  opening  of  a  public  depository  for  copies  of  the  scrip- 
tures in  Greek  and  Italian.  A  warehouse  was  accordingly  pro- 
cured, and  fitted  up  for  the  purpose  at  considerable  expense. 
A  note  was  then  sent  to  the  government  as  a  matter  of  form, 
apprising  it  of  the  arrangement,  and  asking  its  sanction  for  the 
sale  of  the  scriptures.  The  answer  was  suspended  until  instruc- 
tions should  be  received  from  the  government  at  home.  Mean- 
while the  Catholic  bishop  of  Malta  addressed  a  note  to  the 
authorities  here,  warmly  protesting  against  the  measure  recom- 
mended by  Dr  Pinkerton  ;  and  the  remonstrance  of  the  prelate 
was  forwarded  to  England.  In  this  stage  of  the  business,  a 
deputation  from  the  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society  waited 
on  Lord  Bathurst  in  London,  for  the  sake  of  obviating  objections 
to  the  proposal  originally  submitted  to  the  government  of 
Malta,  and  to  obtain  his  concurrence  to  the  plan  which  they 
had  set  on  foot.  They  were  unsuccessful.  An  order  passed 
prohibiting  the  sale  of  the  Society's  Bibles  on  the  island.  The 
warehouse  was  shut  up  and  the  Catholic  bishop  triumphed. 

Now  the  Bible  is,  or  is  not  of  any  worth.  If  it  6e,  —  then 
let  copies  be  multiplied,  and  translations  be  authorized,  and  their 
distribution  be  encouraged.  If  it  be  not,  —  then  why  profess  a 
religion  which  derives  its  origin  from  the  Bible  ?  Why  make  it, 
too,  a  national  religion,  and  guard  it  at  home  with  parliamentary 
edicts,  and  drain  a  kingdom  of  a  tenth  of  its  annual  taxes  for  its 
support? 

The  true  cause  of  the  censurable  policy  in  respect  to  these 
matters  pursued  by  the  British  government  in  Malta  is,  a 
mawkish  fear  of  prejudicing  the  Catholic  priesthood  against 
them,  and  thereby  weakening  their  popularity  with  the  people. 
They  care  not  —  so  the  island  be  theirs,  —  if  superstitions  be 
rife,  and  religion  may  droop,  and  the  Bible  be  spurned,  and  the 
multitude  continue  to  stumble  and  perish  through  the  false  and 


262  MALTA. 

delusive  signals  which  their  spiritual  guides  hold  out  to  their 
steps.  It  is  the  interest  of  the  British  monarch,  not  as  Defender 
of  the  Faith,  but  as  Lord  of  the  Isles,  which  is  solely  consulted. 
The  better  to  attach  so  valuable  a  possession  as  Malta  to  the 
English  crown,  they  truckle  and  they  compromise.  The  colo- 
nial rulers  fawn  on  a  class  of  men  whom  in  heart  they  despise, 
and  those  men,  —  the  ecclesiastics,  —  have  in  their  turn  sagacity 
enough  to  perceive  die  true  motive,  and  they  accept  the  indul- 
gences accorded  to  them  with  no  thanks  for  their  bestowment. 
For  not  more  heartily  are  the  missionaries  disliked  by  the  Eng- 
lish government  in  Malta,  than  the  government  is  disliked  by  the 
population,  boUi  priests  and  people  at  large. 

I  am  no  professed  apologist  for  the  missionaries.  Some  of 
their  opinions  I  by  no  means  embrace ;  and  I  am  free  to  say  that 
I  came  to  Malta  with  feelings  and  sympathies  not  altogether  en- 
listed in  their  favour,  other  than  as  of  men  whose  benevolence 
should  be  respected.  In  looking  at  them  in  their  double  rela- 
tion to  the  government  and  people,  I  have  divested  my  mind  of 
prejudice,  and  not  a  remark  am  I  aware  of  hazarding,  in  respect 
to  either  party,  but  what  is  dictated  in  perfect  truth  and  justice. 
The  homely  old  axiom  that  '  Fair  play  is  a  jewel,'  will  apply  in 
this  case,  —  a  rule,  I  apprehend,  the  benefits  of  which  have  been 
hitherto  withheld  from  the  missionary  philanthropists  of  Malta. 

The  policy  of  England  in  respect  to  die  interests  on  which  I 
have  dilated,  may  be  said  to  be  irrespecUve  of  places.  I  grant 
it ;  and  so  much  the  worse.  The  policy  pursued  in  Malta,  is 
maintained  at  Gibrahar  and  Corfu.  A  single  rector  has  the 
cure  of  all  the  Ionian  isles.  Worldly  policy  and  not  religion  is 
the  principle  kept  in  view  throughout  the  Bridsh  dependencies. 
This,  it  may  also  be  alleged,  is  indispensable ;  for  in  the 
case  of  Malta,  though  the  island  is  held  by  right  of  conquest,  yet 
what  is  a  garrison  of  five  thousand  men  opposed  to  a  population 
of  one  hundred  and  fifteen  thousand  ?  To  ensure  the  subjec- 
tion of  the  latter,  their  prejudices  must  be  humoured,  their 
customs  be  indulged,  their  superstitions  be  tolerated.  Be  it  so. 
I  ask  then,  of  what  use  to  England  is  the  possession  of  her  mil- 


CASTLEREAGII  —  A  CONTRAST.  203 

itary  fastnesses  dispersed  over  the  world?  The  reply  maybe 
that  she  reserves  them  as  points  d'^appui  in  case  of  another  rup- 
ture with  rival  powers.  But  how  much  better  would  it  be  for  her, 
in  place  of  her  constant  and  costly  provisions  for  the  exigency  of 
possible  war,  to  consult  the  interests  and  wants  of  her  redundant 
population  in  times  of  prevailing  peace?  How  much  wiser 
would  it  have  been  at  the  close  of  her  glorious  struggle  in  1815, 
to  have  retained  some  of  the  fair  possessions  which  her  prowess 
had  won,  as  indemnities  for  her  enormous  sacrifices,  —  as  places 
of  colonization  for  her  swarming  subjects,  —  and  where  the 
natives  would  have  blessed  the  beneficence  of  her  reign,  had 
she  been  disposed  to  exercise  it? 

The  answer  again  maybe,  —it  was  not  her  fault  that  all  these 
rich  and  tempting  conquests  were  abandoned.  Agreed,  then  :  — 
Castlereagh's  was  the  blame.  Smiled  upon  in  the  saloons,  he 
was  bowed  out  of  the  cabinets  of  his  imperial  and  royal  brother- 
diplomatists.  By  a  mistaken  magnanimity,  —  and  what  with  their 
wheedling  and  their  gewgaws,  in  the  shape  of  snuff-boxes,  ribbons 
and  crosses,  —  he  gave  back  the  splendid  acquisitions  of  British 
valour.  At  the  close  of  his  bootless  missions,  his  master  John 
Bull,  on  summing  up  the  score  of  his  gains  after  all  his  batdes, 
and  debts  and  subsidies,  found  a  '  beggarly  account '  of  bare 
Rocks,  —  Gibraltar,  Malta  and  Corfu,  Sts.  Helena  and  Ascen- 
sion, with  his  favourites  Bermuda,  Halifax,  and  some  others,  — - 
and  now  his  children,  clamorous  for  bread,  must  go  search  for  it 
among  the  snows  of  Canada,  else,  cross  the  burning  line  to 
break  it  in  the  huts  of  the  Hottentots,  or  mess  with  the  savages 
of  Van  Dieman's  Land. 

March  3.  —  After  breakfast,  I  walked  to  the  Esplanade  Brit- 
tannica  beyond  the  western  gate.  Some  companies  of  the 
Eightieth  Regiment  happened  to  be  parading.  The  music  as 
usual  was  fine,  and  the  appearance  of  the  troops  perfectly  neat 
and  soldier-like. 

I  could  not  but  contrast  their  dress  and  equipments  with  those 
in  vogue  in  the  times  of  the  stern,   mail-clad  builders  of  these 


264  MALTA. 

frowning  walls.  The  arms  of  the  old  knights,  or  rather  of  the  sev- 
eral Languages  of  their  Order,  are  seen  sculptured  over  the  gates 
and  upon  the  hattlements  of  die  surrounding  fortresses.  What  a 
revolution,  not  more  in  the  science  and  practice  of  war,  than  in 
many  other  arts  far  more  essential  to  the  happiness  and  well  being 
of  man,  since  the  days  of  the  renowned  chevaliers  of  St  John ! 

The  Pope  has  lately  given  an  asylum  to  the  remnants  of  the 
Order,  in  Ferrara.  It  is  only  an  asylum.  In  1799,  when  the 
emperor  Paul  was  elected  to  the  grand-mastership,  better  hopes 
were  entertained.  His  personal  pleasure  in  the  title,  his  creation 
of  a  new  Priory  for  the  knights  in  his  dominions,  and  the  power- 
ful protecdon  which  he  promised  the  Order,  gave  them  the 
flattering  expectation,  either  of  regaining  their  lost  heritage,  or, 
if  banished  forever  from  Malta,  of  securing  to  themselves  an  hon- 
ourable and  permanent  retreat  in  Russia.  But  the  hope  was  illu- 
sory. The  very  army  which  the  capricious  monarch  destined  to 
co-operate  with  the  English  fleet  for  the  recovery  of  Malta  from 
the  French,  was  ordered  a  few  months  after  to  assume  a  hostile 
attitude  against  England,  and  even  to  hold  itself  in  readiness  to 
march  against  the  British  possessions  in  India. 

The  death  of  Paul  released  the  Order  from  its  allegiance  to 
the  autocrat  of  the  north.  Then  followed  the  capture  of  Malta 
by  England  ;  but  it  opened  up  no  brighter  prospects  for  the 
unfortunate  knights.  At  that  time  they  still  numbered  five  Lan- 
guages, namely,  those  of  Italy,  Anglo-Bavaria,  Germany,  Cas- 
tillo and  Arragon.  But  the  riches  of  their  commanderies  had 
been  very  much  reduced.  In  Italy  one  half  of  their  revenues 
was  already  dried  up,  and  the  rapacity  of  the  French  govern- 
ment wherever  its  influence  subsequently  spread,  swept  into  its 
coffers  all  the  other  wealth  of  the  Order  on  which  it  could  lay 
hands.  A  number  of  the  knights  sought  shelter  in  England,  and 
it  was  there  that  De  Boisgelin  published  his  elaborate  history  of 
the  Order,  in  which  he  took  care  to  flatter  in  no  measured  terms 
the  English  government  and  people.  He  vainly  hoped  from  the 
national  magnanimity  a  restitution  of  the  old  dominion.     But  the 


FORTUNES  OP  THE  KNIGHTS.  265 

paw  of  the  British  lion  held  fast  the  spoil  which  it  had  won. 
Malta  was  England's ;  and  never  more  was  it  to  become  the 
possession  of  the  brave  Companions. 

In  the  best  days  of  the  Order,  five  hundred  knights  had  their 
homes  in  Malta.  They  dwelt  in  the  sumptuous  edifices  and 
stately  palaces  of  the  capitol,  or,  retired  to  their  country-houses, 
which  were  the  seats  of  hospitality,  they  cultivated,  at  generous 
cost,  the  soil  of  the  rugged  isle.  Now,  their  palaces  and  villas, 
their  gardens  and  demesnes,  with  this  proud  fortress  wherein 
they  trusted,  have  all  passed  into  the  possession  of  strangers. 
Only  two  knights  remain  in  Malta,  the  venerable  survivers  of  a 
fallen  but  illustrious  line.  They  live  as  exiles  in  the  scenes  of 
their  ancient  homes.  Their  presence  recalls  the  memory  of  the 
stern  old  Roman  wandering  a  mendicant  over  plains  once  sig- 
nalized by  the  valour  of  his  arm,  and  the  language  of  the  sup- 
plicant they  might  almost  adopt,  —  '  Date  obolum  Belisario.' 

The  knights,  in  every  point  of  view,  were  an  extraordinary 
race,  —  extraordinary  in  their  character,  as  military  hospitallers, 
church-robed  warriors  and  sworded  monks,  —  in  their  history, 
for  their  deeds  of  gallantry  and  martial  fame,  —  in  the  lesson  of 
their  fall,  exhibiting  the  transitoriness  of  human  glory.  '  Yes- 
terday, they  might  have  stood  against  the  world ;  now,  none 
so  poor  as  to  do  them  reverence.' 

Re-entering  the  city,  I  p  ssed  through  the  postern  sally-port. 
It  is  a  passage  much  more  extensive  than  that  which  I  have  de- 
scribed, called  the  Marino,  being  at  least  one  hundred  yards  in 
length,  and  like  the  latter  cut  through  solid  rock.  It  conducts 
under  the  vast  walls  and  bastions  of  the  city,  and  the  passenger 
on  emerging  from  it,  finds  himself  among  the  dizzying  crowds  of 
the  streets  of  La  Valetta. 

Passing  by  the  principal  barracks,  an  inscription  caught  my 
eye,  the  latinity  and  sentiment  of  which  struck  me  as  alike  ques- 
tionable. It  is  affixed  to  the  British  arms  which  are  placed  on 
the  top  of  an  arcade.     I  copied  it  for  the  sake  of  accuracy. 

Magnae  et  invictas  Brittaniae 
Militensium  amor  et  Europae  vox 
Has  Insulas  conHrmat,     A.  D.  1814. 
34 


266  MALTA. 

At  noon,  the  roar  of  guns  from  the  shipping  and  several  of 
the  forts,  announced  the  stiiling  of  the  Revenge,  seventyfour, 
with  Admiral  Sir  Harry  Neale,  for  England. 

I  had  a  fine  view  of  the  ship  as  she  stood  out  to  sea  from 
between  the  castles  of  St  Angelo  and  St  Elmo.  She  had  all  her 
canvas  spread,  and  moved  with  the  ease  and  grace  of  a  fay's 
skiff.  The  sea,  under  a  cloudless  sky,  exhibited  a  perfectly  blue 
level,  save  the  long  line  of  white  foam  which  was  left  in  the 
vessel's  w^ake. 

March  4.  (Sunday.)  — The  day  has  been  altogether  lovely. 
A  more  delightful  temperature  could  not  be  wished.  At  half 
past  nine,  A.  M.  the  mercury  in  a  glass  suspended  in  my  bal- 
cony, stood  at  seventyfive  degrees. 

As  the  air  was  uncommonly  clear,  I  sent  the  servant  to  the 
terrace  as  soon  as  he  made  his  appearance  in  the  morning,  to 
look  out  for  Mount  ^tna.  Usually  the  mountain  is  only  dis- 
cernible, if  at  all,  very  early  in  the  day,  and  though  I  have  often 
gazed  in  its  direction,  I  have  hitherto  failed  in  obtaining  a  good 
view  of  it.  In  an  air  line,  its  summit  is  distant  from  Malta  at 
least  one  hundred  and  fifty  miles. 

The  messenger  came  down  with  a  countenance  brightened  with 
joy  and  surprise,  and  said  that  not  only  jEtna  was  clearly  visible, 
but  a  large  extent  of  the  coast  of  Sicily.  The  truth  of  his  report 
I  soon  verified,  for  going  above,  I  saw  with  wonderful  dis- 
tinctness, with  the  naked  eye,  both  the  mountain  and  a  line  of 
shore  that  stretched  to  the  east  and  west  for  many  degrees  of 
the  horizon.  Cape  Passaro,  the  proximate  point  of  Sicily,  is 
not  nearer  than  sixty  miles.  Thence  the  coast  bears  away  for 
many  leagues  in  a  deep  curve  towards  Syracuse  ;  yet  the  whole 
seemed  scarcely  a  dozen  miles  distant.  This  may  be  ex- 
plained partly  by  the  extraordinary  clearness  of  the  air,  but 
chiefly  on  the  principles  of  atmospheric  looming.  For,  consid- 
ering the  position  of  the  eye  at  Malta,  and  the  distance  of  a 
great  part  of  the  land  which  appeared,  it  was  not  possible  that 
so  much  of  the  latter  could  be  seen  unless  raised  and  magnified 
nrcording  to  some  of  the  phenomena  of  optical  reflection.     I 


VIEW  OF  MT.  ^TNA.  267 

am  satisfied  in  my  own  mind,  at  any  rate,  of  the  truth  of  this 
remark  as  applied  to  the  remoter  part  of  the  coast,  the  lowness 
of  which,  calculating  on  the  intervening  sphericity  of  the  earth, 
must  have  otherwise  screened  it  altogether. 

jEtna,  nevertheless,  needed  no  aid  from  looming  to  render 
itself  visible,  provided,  as  in  this  case,  the  air  was  very  clear. 
The  wonder  was  that  it  should  have  appeared  so  distinct  and 
near,  and  that  its  bold  and  majestic  profile  should  have  been  so 
perfectly  drawn  on  the  distant  horizon.  The  mountain  rose  far 
in  the  background,  and  seemed  all  at  once  to  upheave  its 
gigantic  form.  To  the  eye  it  looked  thrice  as  high  as  the  coast. 
Its  top  and  sides  were  covered  with  snow.  The  figure  of 
the  mountain  was  an  imperfect  cone,  rising  from  a  very  broad 
base.  The  upper  line  was  irregular,  declining  from  west  to 
east,  and  indented  very  strikingly  in  one  point  which  could 
hardly  be  mistaken  for  the  crater.  On  a  part  of  the  eastern 
front  a  dark  patch  was  visible,  which  looked  tike  a  huge  chasm 
or  precipice.  The  rest  of  the  mountain,  with  the  exception  of 
the  black  indenting  line  of  the  top,  was  almost  dazzlingly  white  ; 
for,  lying  to  the  north  of  Malta,  the  sun  shone  full  upon  its  hoary 
steeps.  No  smoke  could  be  seen,  though  in  periods  of  great 
irruption  it  has  been  discerned,  I  understand,  even  from  so 
vast  a  distance. 

I  have  touched  upon  some  of  the  features  of  this  remote  land- 
scape, but  to  communicate  the  effect  of  the  spectacle  is  impossi- 
ble. It  was  truly  sublime.  Every  accessory  was  present  to 
heighten  the  emotions  which  it  enkindled,  — the  splendour  of  the 
morning,  the  balmy  softness  of  the  air,  the  profound  repose 
of  the  sea,  and  the  beauty  of  the  heavens,  robed  as  they  were  in 
their  richest  cerulean  hue.  The  hum  of  voices  from  the  streets 
rose  in  a  subdued  murmur  to  the  height  of  the  lofty  terrace  on 
which  I  stood  ;  and  birds,  some  of  strange  song,  but  all  of  great 
sweetness,  poured  forth  their  various  melodies. 

It  happened  just  then  to  be  a  season  of  momentary  respite 
from  the  almost  ceaseless  clatter  of  the  Catholic  bells.  But 
their  tongues  did  not  long  remain  mute ;  and  the  first  chime 


268  MALTA. 

brought  down  my  upward  thoughts.  From  my  balcony,  after- 
wards, to  look  forth  upon  the  passing  throng,  to  observe  the  many 
scarce  pretending  a  pause  from  their  usual  avocations,  to  con- 
template the  multitude,  especially  of  females,  hastening  to  the 
water's  side  to  cross  to  Burmola,  thence  to  set  forth  on  their  pil- 
grimage to  Casal  Zahbah,  to  confess  and  be  absolved  from  their 
sins  committed  during  the  late  Carnival,  —  to  reflect  how  few 
of  the  hastening  crowd  were  thoughtful  of  God,  or  hasting  to 
Him  with  penitential  hearts  for  mercy,  — to  think  of  all  this,  to 
see  how  the  Sabbath  is  misunderstood  and  profaned,  how  the 
purposes  of  religion  are  evaded,  and  the  gospel  is  made  of  no 
effect  through  '  the  traditions  of  men,'  —  it  was  enough  to  swell 
the  soul  with  grief.  And  if  the  Saviour  of  the  world  wept  over 
Jerusalem  as  he  thought  of  her  iniquities  and  her  wilful  indiffer- 
ence to  the  blessed  day  of  her  visitation,  the  lament  may  be  still 
poured  out  over  a  benighted  race  in  witnessing  their  moral 
abasement  and  delusions,  —  in  seeing  them  seeking  for  salvation 
from  ^  stocks  and  stones,'  —  their  pictures  and  sculptured  mar- 
bles, —  and  trusting  to  fallible  mortals  for  the  forgiveness  and 
remission  of  their  sins. 

At  the  government  church  I  found  the  usual  paucity  of  at- 
tendants. The  number  was  about  one  hundred  and  twenty. 
A  practical  discourse  was  preached,  which  lasted  fifteen  minutes 
in  the  delivery.  —  The  music  of  this  church,  performed  with 
martial  instruments,  which  here  as  at  Gibraltar  was  at  first  dis- 
agreeable to  me,  has  become  by  familiarity  rather  pleasing 
than  otherwise.  The  strains  are  sometimes  grand  and  even 
solemn. 

A  battalion  of  troops,  which  marched  this  afternoon  to  the  es- 
planade with  drums  beating  and  colours  flying,  have  just  returned 
through  the  city  with  the  same  din  and  pomp.  Inquiring  the  cause 
of  this  movement,  I  have  learned  that  the  new  governor,  who 
landed  four  days  ago,  chose  this  occasion  for  a  general  review 
of  the  military  of  the  garrison.  As  his  stay  here  is  not  likely  to 
be  short,  and  as  there  is  no  threatened  invasion  from  either 
Turks,  Moors,  or  Egyptians,  it  should  seem  that  another  day 


SUNSET  —  DISTANT  VISION.  269 

less  exceptionable,  might  have  been  selected  for  the  parade. 
But,  perhaps  he  thinks  that  military  laws  naturally  supersede, 
and  are  paramount  to  the  laws  of  God,  as  embodied  in  that 
antiquated  code  called  the  Bible. 

When  near  the  hour  of  sunset,  I  walked  to  the  western  ram- 
parts. The  evening  was  a  beautiful  close  to  a  most  beautiful 
day.  The  streets,  piazzas  and  batteries  were  filled  with  pedes- 
trians. As  I  stood  in  the  noble  galleries  of  the  gardens  at  the 
southern  angle  of  the  walls,  —  topping  ramparts  elevated  at  least 
one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  from  the  deep  bed  of  the  moat  — 
the  sun  went  down  in  mild  and  cloudless  glory  behind  the 
distant  towers  of  Citta  Vecchia.  The  usual  evening  gun  was  that 
moment  fired  from  St  Angelo.  Almost  simultaneously,  the 
marine  volley  on  board  the  Asia  was  heard,  as  her  colours  were 
struck  for  the  night,  and  the  fine  music  of  trumpets  floated 
proudly  on  the  air. 

The  bay  was  swarming  with  boats  passing  from  the  opposite 
burghs.  I  counted  at  one  time  no  less  than  a  hundred  and 
thirtyfour ;  and  new  ones  were  continually  coming  into  view  as 
others  disappeared.  The  return  boats  were  freighted  with  pil- 
grims from  Casal  Zahbah.  The  multitude  come  back  absolved 
and  shriven,  and  of  course  ready  to  commence  a  new  score  of 
'  peccadillos.' 

March  5.  —  A  subject  of  conversation  with  almost  every  one 
I  have  met  today,  has  been  the  wonderful  distinctness  with  which 
Mount  jEtna  and  the  coast  of  Sicily  were  seen  yesterday.  It  is 
accounted  byall  very  extraordinary.  The  mountain,  at  times, 
did  not  seem  more  than  six  or  eight  leagues  distant,  and, 
together  with  the  coast,  was  visible  the  whole  day.  The 
latter  circumstance  is  extremely  rare,  as  generally  any  part  of 
Sicily,  if  it  be  distinguishable,  can  only  be  seen  in  very  early 
morning.  Gentlemen,  who  have  resided  here  for  years,  assure 
me  that  they  have  never  remarked  such  a  duration  of  the  phe- 
nomenon as  yesterday. 

Owing  to  the  actual  remoteness  of  the  mountain  and  the  in- 
tervening medium  of  air,  it  commonly  appears  from  Malta  like 


270  MALTA. 

a  cloud,  or  faint  nebula,  the  edges  of  which  are  ill  defined.  But 
throughout  yesterday  the  snows  on  its  back  were  as  plainly  seen, 
—  the  precipices  on  the  right  or  southeastern  declivity,  the 
broken  edge  of  the  summit,  and  the  very  hollow  of  a  crater, 
either  new  or  old, —  all  were  as  distinctly  observable  as  the 
colours  and  forms,  (for  example,)  of  any  structures  in  Fort  St 
Julien's,  just  across  this  bay.  Today,  though  sunny  and  mild, 
-^tna  and  the  coast  of  Sicily  could  no  more  be  descried  than  as 
if  they  existed  not. 

This  being  the  first  Monday  in  the  month,  many  have  gone 
from  the  city  to  a  place  in  the  neighbourhoDd  where  criminals 
are  usually  executed,  for  the  purpose  of  praying  their  souls  out 
of  purgatory.  A  hundred  persons  and  upwards  might  be  seen 
at  once  on  the  ground,  in  kneeling  postures,  offering  their  prayers 
with  apparent  fervency.  This  is  done  on  the  principle  that  one 
good  turn  deserves  another ;  namely,  that  the  souls  released 
through  such  instrumentality  should  intercede  in  behalf  of  their 
benefactors,  if  they,  in  like  manner,  be  hereafter  doomed  to  the 
pains  of  purgatory.  But  prayers,  lay  prayers,  it  seems  are  not 
enough  to  help  these  spirits  out  of  prison.  A  strong  box  fast-, 
ened  in  the  earth  is  kept  constantly  near  the  place  of  execution, 
and  in  the  top,  a  small  hole  is  bored,  into  which  moneys  are 
dropped  by  the  superstitious.  The  contents  are  examined  at 
stated  periods,  and  are  then  appropriated  to  the  saying  of  mass 
by  the  priests  for  the  souls  of  the  criminals. 

This  is  not  all  the  absurd  display  of  Catholic  superstition, 
which  I  have  witnessed  today.  Men  have  been  perambulating 
the  street  every  hour  since  sunrise,  ringing  a  little  bell,  and  car- 
rying a  painted  tin  box  to  receive  contributions  to  be  devoted  to 
the  celebration  of  mass,  for  the  souls  of  the  deceased  poor. 
This  is  more  or  less  practised  every  Monday.  It  is  one  of  the 
thousand  devices  for  filching  money  from  the  people  at  large,  for 
the  sake  of  pampering  in  idleness  a  swarming  priesthood.  If 
the  ecclesiastics  have  that  compassion  which  they  affect  for  the 
miseries,  both  temporal  and  spiritual,  of  their  fellow-creatures, 
why  not  disburse  some  of  their  own  worldly  substance  in  reliel 


VERNAL  TEMPERATURE.  271 

of  the  living  poor,  and  offer  up  their  prayers  gratuitously  in  be- 
half of  the  poor  defunct  ?  The  reason  is,  — jtidging  from  their 
practice,  —  that  a  cheap  thing  is  of  litde  worth,  and  prayers  Vv'hich 
would  cost  nothing,  would  be  destitute  of  spiritual  efficacy.  It 
is  money,  they  imagine,  which  feathers  the  shaft,  and  can  alone 
carry  upward  the  arrow  of  intercession.  Without  it,  instead  of 
reaching  heaven,  it  would  fall  back  impotent  to  earth. 

March  6.  —  Personal  comfort  depending  very  much  on  the 
state  of  the  weather,  it  is  not  surprising  that  it  should  be  a  fre- 
quent theme  of  remark.  I  have  already  recorded  some  obser- 
vations on  the  temperature  of  this  island,  and  at  the  hazard  of 
the  charge  of  reverting  to  a  hackneyed  topic,  I  shall  say  a  little 
more  of  it. 

The  climate  of  Malta  continues  to  please  me.  J  question  if 
a  finer  one  can  be  found  in  any  part  of  the  Mediterranean. 
Comparing  my  longer  observations  on  its  salubriousness  with 
the  information  which  I  have  received,  I  have  wondered  that 
the  island  is  not  oftener  visited  by  invalids  in  quest  of  health. 
I  have  been  here  between  five  and  six  weeks,  and  have  not 
known  the  thermometer  lower  than  fiftythree  degrees,  nor 
higher  than  seventysix  or  seventyeight.  In  my  rooms  at  two 
o'clock,  this  P.  M.,  with  the  windows  open,  the  mercury  stood 
exactly  at  66°.  The  air  of  Malta  is  peculiarly  soft.  There 
is  a  certain  deliciousness  in  the  feeling,  which  I  remember 
to  have  experienced  nowhere  else.  Since  my  arrival  in  the 
city,  there  has  been  scarcely  a  day,  during  a  part  of  which,  I 
have  not  set  with  open  windows. 

Later  in  the  season,  it  is  true,  the  weather  becomes  sultry; 
but  even  then,  Malta  enjoys  the  advantages  of  its  insularity ; 
and  though  much  farther  south  than  Rome  or  Naples,  the  cli- 
mate in  mid-summer^  is  said  to  be,  generally,  not  so  oppressive 
as  in  either  of  those  capitals.  The  greater  convenience  of  ac- 
cess to  most  of  the  continental  cities,  will  continue  probably  to 
make  them  preferable  as  places  of  resort  by  valetudinarians ; 
but  where  a  voyage  is  contemplated  for  health,  I  am  satisfied 
that  Malta  intrinsically  would  be  a  better  choice  of  destinatio*i, 


272  MALTA. 

than  Lisbon,  Marseilles,  or  Leghorn.  There  are  objects  of  in- 
terest enough  here  to  occupy  attention,  and  to  afford  both  plea- 
sure and  profit  during  a  visit  of  a  few  weeks,  if  not  months.  If 
there  be  some  things  to  pain,  there  are  others  and  more  to 
gratify. 

Yet  visiters,  as  such,  rarely  come  here,  and  invalids  are  equal- 
ly strangers.  The  company  at  Vicary's  has  undergone  little 
change  since  my  arrival,  and  being  the  best  house  in  Malta,  it 
would  naturally  be  resorted  to  by  all  new  comers,  who  study 
convenience  and  comfort.  I  found  here  an  English  baronet, 
and  a  captain  in  the  royal  navy  with  his  family.  Two  sprigs  of 
British  nobility,  —  lords  P.  and  B.,  attached  to  the  Asia,  —  have 
lately  taken  up  their  quarters  here  ;  and  these  are  all  the  lodg- 
ers. The  arrangements  of  the  house  are  excellent,  and  the 
charges  are  reasonably  moderate- 
In  some  of  my  notes,  shortly  after  my  arrival,  I  passed  a  cur- 
sory observation  on  my  accommodations.  But  a  more  partic- 
ular descripti  ;n  of  the  principal  room  assigned  me,  may  not  be 
amiss,  as  it  will  give  a  pretty  good  notion  of  the  interior  of  the 
better  apartments  in  Valetta. 

The  floor,  walls  and  ceiling  are  made  of  stone,  laid  in  square 
masses,  the  surH  ces  of  which  are  smoothed.  The  floor  is  cov- 
ered with  oil  cloth,  over  which  is  a  rich  Turkey  carpet.  The 
walls  are  painted  in  imitation  of  beautiful  border-paper ;  the 
ground  colour  is  a  light  yellow.  The  ceiling  is  covered  with 
cloth  hangings,  ornamented  with  fanciful  devices,  such  as  Cu- 
pids, Hymen's  torches,  harps  and  flowers,  —  so  that  one  sees 
nothing  of  the  stones  above,  though  conscious  that  they  are 
there,  aye,  and  possessing  great  weight.  —  Suppose,  I  sometimes 
say  to  myself,  one  of  them  by  an  unlucky  chance,  should  loosen 
and  fall?  But  this,  by  the  by.- — The  ceiling,  as  usual,  is 
lofty  ;  and  the  apartment  itself  is  about  thirty  feet  square. 

The  furniture  is  good,  but  otherwise  not  remarkable.  A 
side-board,  card-table,  work-table,  and  small  dining-table,  all  of 
mahogany,  —  a  Grecian  hair-couch,  a  sofa,  a  due  proportion 
of  single  and  arm-chairs,  a  large  painting  representing  the   city, 


CHEZ  MOI  —  BLOCKADE  OF  '98.  273 

harbour  and  suburbs  of  Valetta,  —  full  white  curtains  trailing, 
when  dropped,  upon  the  floor,  —  these  make  up  les  meuhles. 

The  w^indows  are  of  great  height,  and  open  by  means  of 
hinges,  like  double  or  folding  doors,  swinging  inward.  The 
panes  of  glass  are  very  broad  and  large,  so  much  so  that  a  sin- 
gle set,  with  the  deep  frame,  is  sufficient  for  each  half  of  a 
window.  Communicating  with  the  apartment,  there  are  three 
massive  doors,  the  pannels  of  which  are  painted  with  fancy 
landscapes,  very  neatly  executed.  They  look  like  oil  paintings 
ingeniously  set  into  the  wood-work  of  the  doors,  as  though 
the  latter  were  designed  to  be  merely  their  frames.  The  edges 
are  gilt,  as  are  also  the  broad  mouldings  of  the  lintels  of  the  doors 
themselves.  Besides  these  communications,  one  of  the  windows 
serves  for  a  passage,  being  continued  quite  down  to  the  floor, 
and  opening  on  a  large  old  balcony  which  overlooks  Palace 
Square.  The  balcony  is  decorated  with  plants  in  stone  vases, 
among  which  are  two  American  aloes,  a  Turkish  cypress,  an 
orange  tree,  some  geraniums,  and  others  not  known  to  me. 

The  Maltese  are  fond  of  cultivating  ornamental  shrubs  and 
flowers.  The  climate  is  so  genial,  that  most  varieties  of  green- 
house plants  grow  here  without  need  of  shelter.  They  place 
them  not  only  in  their  balconies,  but  frequently  in  their  halls, 
and  along  the  stairways  leading  up  from  the  courts  of  their 
houses.  Canary  birds,  kept  in  cages,  are  dispersed  in  these 
domestic  shrubberies,  and  their  concerts  are  very  enlivening. 

It  is  now  sunset,  or  what  is  called  here,  '  gun-fire.'  The 
report  has  just  sounded.  In  the  square,  the  band  have  struck 
up  their  usual  evening /ew  dejoie.  Dinner  has  been  announced, 
and  I  leave  my  notes  to  attend  to  that  important  summons. 

March  7.  —  I  have  conversed  with  many  who  have  a  lively 
recollection  of  the  sufferings  and  privations  endured  in  the  me- 
morable siege  of  Malta,  under  the  French.  They  were  very 
severe.  The  obstinacy  of  the  French  in  retaining  the  island 
to  the  last  possible  moment,  and  the  perseverance  and  vigilance 
of  the  English  in  keeping  up  the  blockade,  and  in  intercepting 
supplies  for  the  garrison  during  the  two  years  of  the  investment, 
35 


274  MALTA. 

reduced  the  inhabitants  at  length  to  the  most  pitiable  state  of 
want.  General  Vaiibois,  who  was  left  by  Buonaparte  in  com- 
mand, manifested  a  resolution  and  firmness  of  the  most  extra- 
ordinary nature. 

Few  military  exploits  of  brilliancy  occurred  between  the 
besiegers  and  the  besieged.  In  this  respect,  the  beleaguering 
differed  widely  from  the  renowned  one  of  1565.  Then,  the 
most  splendid  acts  of  heroism  were  reciprocally  performed  ; 
now,  it  was  a  cool  and  passive  courage  shown  on  the  one  hand, 
and  a  constancy  in  maintaining  positions  of  annoyance  rather 
than  of  aggression,  on  the  other. 

It  is  remarkable  that  a  fortress  which  for  two  hundred  and 
thirtythree  years  had  been  safe  from  assaults,  namely,  ever  since 
the  glorious  repulse  of  the  Turks  by  the  brave  La  Valette  and 
his  companions  —  a  fortress  deemed  impregnable,  and  long 
regarded  as  the  bulwark  of  the  Christian  world  —  should  in  two 
years  time  be  captured  by  two  rival  powers,  and  its  conquest  be 
meditated  by  a  third,  equally  competent  to  effect  it  in  the  begin- 
ning, at  least,  of  the  crisis.  Three  days  after  the  appearance  of 
Buonaparte  off  the  coast,  with  the  fleet  destined  against  Egypt, 
the  flag  of  the  Republic  was  flying  over  all  the  towers  of  Malta, 
and  Buonaparte  himself  was  dictating  his  orders  in  the  city  of 
Valetta.  It  was  a  mighty  armament,  it  is  true,  which  he  brought 
with  him.  The  ships  and  transports  extended  along  the  whole 
line  of  coast,  from  the  isle  of  Goza  to  Marsa  Sirocco,  —  a  landing 
at  the  southeastern  extremity  of  Malta.  It  seemed  like  the 
gathering  of  a  black  and  portentous  cloud,  destined  to  burst  with 
the  violence  of  a  tornado  on  the  unfortunate  island.  In  that 
fleet  was  the  famous  '  army  of  England,'  commanded  by  the 
greatest  captain  of  the  age,  and  officered  by  chiefs  scarcely  less 
dread  and  valiant  in  battle  ;  — for  there  were  Lasnes  and  Baillard, 
Marmont  and  D'Hilliers,  Kleber  and  Dessaix.  But  the  knights 
were  bound  by  their  vows  '  nev^r  to  reckon  the  number  of  an 
enemy ; '  and  had  not  treason  crept  into  their  ranks,  and  had 
not  their  counsels  been  distracted,  and  if  brethren  had  not  be- 
come foemen   of  each  other,  such   was  the  strength  of  their 


HOMPESCIl  AND  VALETTE.  275 

defences  that  they  might  easily  have  held  out  long  enough 
against  the  French  force,  immense  as  it  was,  to  have  compelled 
Napoleon  to  raise  the  siege  in  consideration  of  the  more  alluring 
conquests  which  he  sought  impatiently  in  the  East.  The  trai- 
tors were  of  the  class  of  French  knights,  who  constituted  at  this 
time  the  major  part  of  the  whole  Order,  and  comprehended  the 
three  divisions  of  Provence,  Auvergne  and  France  proper.  The 
Republic  haughtily  demanded  that  every  chevalier  of  French 
birth,  should  transfer  his  allegiance  from  the  Grand  Master  to  the 
Directory.  Many  were  true  to  their  vows  as  knights,  but  others 
followed  the  examples  of  Ransij at  and  Dolomieu,  and  assisted  in 
betraying  the  island  into  the  hands  of  a  power  essentially  as 
foreign  to  them  as  the  Sublime  Porte.  ^"^ 

Unhappily,  the  Grand  Master,  Hompesch,  was  destitute  of  that 
decision  and  firmness  which  were  indispensable  to  a  commander 
at  such  a  juncture.  He  shut  himself  up  in  his  palace  during 
the  short  investment  of  the  capital,  and  contented  himself  with 
issuing  conflicting  orders  which  were  seldom  obeyed.  One 
evening,  when  Marmont  was  thundering  at  the  gates,  he  roused 
from  his  inactivity,  intending  to  put  himself  at  the  head  of  his 
remaining  adherents,  and  march  through  the  city  to  take  personal 
command  of  the  advanced  post  of  Florian.  But  his  friends  in 
the  palace  dissuaded  him  from  indulging  the  generous  impulse, 
which,  had  it  been  followed  up,  might  have  still  saved  the  Order, 
or  at  least  have  put  an  honourable  end  to  its  existence. 

How  different  was  the  conduct  of  the  brave  old  Valette  in  the 
ancient  siege  !  On  one  occasion,  when  St  Elmo  had  fallen,  and 
the  whole  Ottoman  force  was  directed  against  St  Angelo  and  its 
outworks,  a  mine  was  sprung  which  threw  down  a  part  of  one  of 
the  advanced  walls.  The  Turks,  rushing  furiously  to  the  charge, 
mounted  the  breach  and  succeeded  in  planting  their  colours 
at  the  foot  of  the  parapet.  La  Valette  saw  it^  and  though 
the  knights  besought  him,  —  one  of  them  on  his  knees,  —  to 
retire  into  the  citadel  for  safety,  —  '  Never,'  he  replied,  pointing 
to  the  enemy's  standards  then  waving  in  the  wind,  —  '  Never  till 
I  pull  down  those  trophies  which  the  infidels  have  raised.'    With 


276  MALTA. 

only  a  light  morion  on  his  head,  not  stopping  to  put  on  other 
armonr  even  so  much  as  a  cuirass,  he  boldly  advanced  to  meet 
the  assailants,  accompanied  by  the  knights  who  were  immediately 
about  his  person,  and  charged  so  impetuously  that  the  Turks 
wavered  and  were  soon  thrown  into  confusion.  The  example 
of  the  intrepid  chief  inspired  his  followers  with  enthusiastic 
daring.  A  company  of  knights  rushed  from  another  part  of  the 
walls  to  reinforce  this  devoted  little  band,  and  to  cover  the  per- 
son of  the  Grand  Master  ;  and  after  most  desperate  efforts  the 
Turks  were  utterly  routed,  their  standards  were  overthrown, 
and  the  banner  of  St  John  again  floated  in  triumph  over  the 
shattered  wall. 

History  records  another  sublime  sentiment  uttered  by  the 
veteran  hero  in  the  thickest  of  the  fight,  in  answer  to  renewed 
entreaties  from  his  followers  that  he  would  withdraw  for  self- 
security  :  — '  How,'  cried  he, '  can  I,  at  the  age  of  seventyone, 
die  more  gloriously  than  in  the  midst  of  my  brothers  and 
friends,  in  the  service  of  God,  and  while  contending  for  the 
defence  of  our  holy  religion  ! ' 

Such  a  chief  is  alone  a  host.  Alas,  Hompesch  was  not  Va- 
lette  ;  though  Napoleon  —  a  greater  than  Mustapha,  —  rivalled 
in  his  fortunes  Solyman,  the  victor  of  Rhodes. 

Buonaparte  rested  in  Malta  only  long  enough  to  arrange  a 
provisional  government,  to  seize  upon  its  ready  treasures,  and 
make  a  general  levy  of  sailors  and  soldiers  among  the  natives  to 
recruit  his  fleet  and  army,  and  then  with  a  few  knights  who  en- 
listed under  his  banners,  departed  for  Egypt.  The  number  of 
troops  left  with  Vaubois  in  garrison,  amounted  only  to  four 
thousand.  A  thousand  more  were  afterwards  added,  chiefly  the 
crews  of  the  few  transports  and  frigates  which  contrived  to 
reach  Malta  after  the  catastrophe  of  Aboukir. 

Hompesch  retired  to  Trieste  with  some  faithful  knights,  but 
they  were  soon  dispersed,  and  the  Order  was  then  virtually  dis- 
banded. He  was  allowed  a  nominal  pension  of  one  hundred 
thousand  crowns  ;  and  in  return  for  the  plate,  jewels  and  other 
effects  w^hichhe  was  compelled  to  leave  behind,  he  received  in 


SUFFERINGS  OF  THE   BESIEGED.  277 

promissory  notes  and  specie,  a  sum  amounting  to  six  hundred 
thousand  livres,  (one  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  dollars.)  No 
other  property  was  taken  with  him,  —  except  the  pious  relics  of 
St  John's  hand,  a  part  of  the  real  cross,  and  a  miraculous  image 
of  the  Holy  Virgin !  These  were  afterwards  remitted  to  the 
Cathedral  of  Maha. 

Nelson  having  made  short  work  in  cutting  up  the  French  fleet 
in  Egypt,  despatched  a  squadron  which  suddenly  appeared  off 
Malta  and  demanded  its  immediate  surrender.  Vaubois,  though 
astonished  at  a  summons  which  told  him  too  plainly  the  rapid 
ebb  in  the  fortunes  of  his  master,  sent  a  Spartan  reply,  the 
purport  of  which  was,  Come  and  Take  it.  This  not  suiting  the 
convenience  of  the  British  admiral  at  that  early  hour,  he  was 
content  to  watch  Malta,  and  enforce  a  strict  blockade  in  hopes 
of  reducing  it  by  famine.  The  guns  of  Valetta  and  the  sur- 
rounding bulwarks  looked  too  grim  for  closer  parley. 

The  siege  commenced  in  September,  1798,  and  with  it  be- 
gan the  hardships  of  the  besieged.  At  the  outset,  there  was  only 
corn  enough  to  last  the  inhabitants  seven  months  at  the  usual 
rate  of  consumption.  Other  provisions  were  still  more  scanty, 
yet  the  garrison  held  out  for  twentyfour  months ;  and  it  only 
surrendered  when  every  expedient  was  exhausted,  there  was 
literally  nothing  left  to  eat.  Water  was  the  only  supply  which 
failed  not.  The  rains  happened  to  be  unusually  copious,  and 
the  cisterns  were  never  dry. 

Six  months  after  the  commencement  of  the  siege,  provisions 
sold  at  most  exorbitant  rates.  Converting  the  cost  from  French 
prices  into  Federal  currency,  the  following  may  be  taken  as  sam- 
ples ;  —  namely,  fresh  meat  brought  68  cents  a  pound  ;  a  pigeon, 
$1.20 ;  a  rabbit  1.50  ;  an  egg  8  cents,  and  a  fowl  5.80.  —  In 
six  months  more,  the  prices  had  advanced  in  general  above  a 
hundred  percent ;  —  for  instance,  fresh  pork  sold  for  $1.44  per 
lb. ;  a  pigeon  for  2.40;  a  fowl  for  12.00,  and  an  egg  for  16  cents. 
A  pound  of  cheese,  which  during  the  first  half  year  sold  for  60 
cents,  was  now  priced  at  1,75.  Fish  of  the  best  sort  brought 
from  70  to  80  cents  per  lb.  and  everything  else  was  propor- 


278  MALTA. 

tionably  dear.  After  nine  months  more,  pork  had  risen  to 
J  1,72  ;  a  pound  of  sugar  sold  for  $9.00  and  a  pound  of  coffee 
fetched  from  10  to  12  dollars. 

But  as  many  of  the  people  had  no  money  to  purchase  food 
they  resorted  to  other  methods  to  help  out  what  allowance  of 
corn  they  received  from  the  general  storehouses.  All  the  dogs 
and  cats  in  Valetta  were  killed  and  eaten.  Rats  were  eagerly 
hunted  up  and  devoured.  Large  ones,  especially  those  found 
in  bake-houses,  when  offered  for  sale,  brought  50  cents  and 
even  upwards.  Asses,  mules  and  horses,  were  slaughtered  for 
food.  Only  a  few  were  left  which  were  necessary  for  grinding 
corn  or  useful  for  military  service  ;  and  when  the  corn  was 
worked  up,  these  too  were  butchered. 

The  scarcity  of  provisions  was  not  the  only  suffering.  The 
whole  of  the  wood  in  the  magazines  and  basins  was  early  con- 
sumed ;  and  to  supply  the  wants  of  the  troops,  nay,  of  the  bakers 
themselves,  the  only  resource  left  was  to  break  up  the  old  trading 
vessels  which  were  judged  the  least  fit  for  service.  The  people, 
for  the  most  part,  were  totally  destitute  of  fuel. 

For  the  payment  of  the  troops  and  officers  under  the  govern- 
ment, recourse  was  had  to  forced  loans  from  the  inhabitants,  to 
the  remaining  wealth  of  the  churches,  and  lastly,  to  the  funds  in 
the  great  pawn-brokery,  called  Monte  di  Pieta.  Near  a  mil- 
lion of  livres,  (two  hundred  thousand  dollars,)  were  raised  from 
the  latter  fund.  But  at  length  every  supply  of  money  failed, 
and  the  pay  of  the  troops  was  stopped.  ^^ 

It  is  surprising  that  the  French  general  could  have  maintained 
his  authority  under  such  inauspicious  circumstances  with  his  own 
troops  ;  and  still  more,  that  the  people  did  not  rise  in  rebellion, 
and  demand  and  force  a  surrender  of  the  city.  But  they  gene- 
rally acquiesced  till  near  the  close,  and  Vaubois  himself  enjoyed 
to  the  last  a  considerable  degree  of  popularity.  No  one  but  a 
Frenchman  could  have  compelled  priests  to  work,  and  take  their 
share  of  labour  in  strengthening  the  fortifications ;  but  this  Vau- 
bois did,  and  some  of  them  wrought  very  effectively.  No  one 
but  a  Frenchman,  would  have  thought  of  amusing  the  people 


SURRENDER  —  RETROj'P  ECT.  279 

with  theatrical  entertainments  at  such  a  time,  but  Vaubois  kept 
in  pay  a  company  of  comedians  for  that  purpose,  so  long  as  pay 
he  could  possibly  furnish  ;  and  when  in  default  of  this,  and  in 
consequence  of  die  scarcity  of  provisions,  he  dismissed  them,  a 
corps  of  amateurs  was  sought  out  to  take  their  places,  and  the 
theatre  was  attended  as  regularly  as  before. 

But  Vaubois  owed  his  ascendency  chiefly  to  other  means. 
He  had  personal  merits  which  commanded  respect.  He  took 
part  and  lot  with  the  soldiery  and  the  inhabitants  in  the  severest 
privations  which  they  endured  ;  and  in  his  measures  calculated 
for  general  defence,  he  knew  how  to  temper  sternness  with  a 
certain  degree  of  lenity.  When  at  length  he  capitulated,  it  was 
with  honour.  The  principal  articles  which  he  demanded  in  the 
treaty,  were  granted.  The  garrison  marched  out  with  all  the 
honours  of  war,  —  with  personal  arms,  drums  beating,  colours 
flying,  matches  lighted,  and  two  four-pounders  with  their  car- 
riages at  the  head  of  the  column.  The  officers  and  troops  were 
transported  to  Marseilles  at  the  expense  of  the  British  govern- 
ment; and,  whatever  we  may  think  of  his  cause,  and  whatever 
of  the  character  of  his  army  in  a  moral  point  of  view,  Vaubois 
for  himself  claimed,  as  he  had  won,  the  reputation  of  an  able 
and  heroic,  though  unfortunate  general. 

— But  I  must  quit  this  topic,  and  with  it  prepare  to  leave  Malta. 
I  have  arranged  to  depart  on  the  morrow,  but  not  without  regret. 
The  few  weeks  which  I  have  passed  on  this  island,  have  given 
me  attachments  to  the  spot  not  easy  to  be  shaken  off;  and  from 
the  first,  I  have  had  a  growing  and  lively  interest  in  the  history, 
condition  and  prospects  of  its  inhabitants.  I  have  found  here 
warm  hearts,  and  in  the  various  families  to  which  I  have  been 
introduced,  I  have  been  greeted  with  kindest  hospitality. 

It  is  painful  to  go  from  almost  any  spot  which  has  become 
familiarized,  with  the  certainty  that  it  will  never  more  be  seen  ; 
and  to  part  with  friends  who  are  valued,  with  the  reflection 
that  their  society  can  never  after  be  enjoyed.  Especially,  if  the 
traveller,  instead  of  turning  homeward,  sets  forth  to  a  new  coun- 
try which  he  must  enter  a  perfect  stranger,  —  where,  among  the 


280  MALTA. 

many  thousands  of  its  population,  there  is  no  face  perchance  he 
has  ever  heheld,  and  no  hand  which  he  has  pressed  in  friend- 
ship, —  a  country  which  he  must  approach  all  ignorant,  of 
course,  of  the  incidents  which  shall  there  befall  him,  the  manners 
he  shall  find,  the  acquaintance  he  may  form,  and  the  reception 
he  will  obtain.  But  it  will  be  better  hereafter  to  describe  what 
shall  come,  than  at  this  hour  vainly  to  anticipate  it ;  and  the 
remainder  of  my  time  in  Malta  I  shall  devote  to  looking  at  things 
present  and  near,  which,  with  the  setting  of  tomorrow's  sun,  will 
become  to  me  things,  then,  distant  and  gone. 


CHAPTER  X 


ARRIVAL  IN    SICILY. 

Departure  from  Malta.  —  Sicilian  Brigantine.  —  Regulations'  on  Board.  —  Cape 
Passaro.  —  Superstition  of  the  Padrone. — Arrival  in  Syracuse.  —  Recep- 
tion on  Shore.  —  Port  Officers.  —  A  Fellow  Lodger.  —  Accommodations.  — 
Cathedral  Square.  —  General  View.  —  Temple  of  Minerva.  —  Museum. — 
Ancient  Bath.  —  Fountain  of  Arethusa  ;  Modern  Nymphs.  —  Alpheus.  —  Ca- 
sino.—  Country  Scenery.  — Tomb  of  Archimedes,  —  Street  of  Sepulchres.  — 
Latomise.  —  Ear  of  Dionysius.  —  Greek  Theatre.  —  Amphitheatre.  —  Char- 
acter of  the  Old  Romans. 

At  Sea  ;  March  9. — Yesterday,  at  four  P.  M.,  I  took  passage 
in  a  Sicilian  brigantine,  bound  for  Syracuse.  It  was  an  hour 
before  we  left  the  harbour  of  Malta,  but  it  was  pleasantly  spent 
in  company  with  friends  who  had  kindly  come  on  board  to 
express  their  good  wishes  at  parting,  and  who  remained  till  the 
anchor  was  weighed.  They  freighted  me  with  letters,  introduc- 
tory and  recommendatory,  and  manifested  a  solicitude  to  render 
my  future  travels  agreeable  to  myself  and  useful  in  the  way 
of  instruction. 

A  light  breeze  wafted  us  to  sea.  Valetta,  with  its  embattled 
towers  and  strong  suburbs,  looked  stately  and  vericrable  in  the 
parting  view.  As  I  gazed  upon  the  lessening  isle,  the  sun  sunk 
in  a  flood  of  glory  behind  the  distant  ridge  of  the  Bengemma 
hills.  An  evening  of  softest  beauty  succeeded,  and  threw  a 
silver  veil  on  the  receding  objects.  At  length,  they  totally 
disappeared  ;  and  when  night  closed  around,  it  spread  its  can- 
opy of  starry  grandeur  over  an  uninterrupted  surface  of  waters. 
It  was  well  that  evening  on  deck  had  something  to  allure,  for, 
on  descending  to  the  cabin  at  a  late  hour,  I  found  that  all  was 
36 


282  PASSAGE  TO  SYRACUSE. 

comfortless  there.  It  was  not  the  least  unpleasant  circumstance 
that  I  was  the  only  passenger  on  board,  and  that  I  had  none  to 
converse  with  but  the  boorish  master  of  a  noisy  and  boorish 
crew,  any  one  of  which  seemed  to  have  nearly  equal  author- 
ity with  the  nominal  head.  A  Sicilian  brigantine,  —  the  best 
vessel,  by  the  way,  in  which  I  could  find  a  passage,  —  can  hardly 
be  expected  to  abound  with  the  comforts  of  an  American  or 
British  packet ;  but  1  was  not  prepared  for  such  complete  pov- 
erty of  accommodations  as  I  have  experienced  here.  A  little 
cabin  had  been  assigned  me,  but  all  the  equipments  of  the  berth, 
consisted  of  a  leathern  mattress  and  bolster,  each  about  as  soft 
as  a  pine  plank.  My  own  cot  equipage  and  night  personals 
had,  unluckily,  been  so  closely  packed  away  in  a  part  of  my 
luggage,  that  I  thought  the  trouble  of  reaching  them  would  be 
greater  than  the  inconvenience  of  doing  without  them.  Ac- 
cordingly, I  laid  down  under  my  top-coats,  and  contrived  to 
'worry'  through  the  night  after  a  sort;  but  it  was  a  hard 
m.atter.  A  damp  breeze  which  sprung  up  after  midnight, 
forced  its  way  through  the  wide  crevices  of  my  crazy  state- 
room, and  not  only  chilled  me  severely,  but  left  a  cold  which 
will  probably  remain  for  some  days,  an  unwelcome  souvenir 
of  my  voyage  in  a  Sicilian  brigantine. 

During  the  night  there  was  a  constant  noise,  and  hurrying  to 
and  fro,  upon  deck.  Not  only  were  orders  vociferated,  but 
voices  would  clamour  in  a  tone  of  anger,  in  the  most  common 
conversation.  It  has  been  much  the  same  thing  today.  The 
crew  of  this  small  vessel  consists  of  about  twenty  hands,  and 
the  most  of  ihera  are  savage  looking  fellows.  In  appearance, 
they  would  do  honour  to  a  company  of  buccaneers.  Order 
there  is  none.  If  a  rope  is  to  be  pulled,  or  a  yard  braced,  it  is 
an  even  chance  that  the  captain,  or  Padrone  as  he  is  called,  has 
to  do  it  himself.  Or  if  one  hand  runs  to  execute  the  order, 
half  the  crew  will  be  likely  to  follow  his  example,  and  between 
them  all,  the  work  may  go  undone. 

An  American  ship-master  would  smile  if  he  were  to  witness 
what  passes  on  board ;  especially,  to  observe  the  '  Jack-fellow- 


SICILIAN  BRIGANTINE  —  REGULATIONS. 


283 


like'  equality  which  reigns  throughout.  The  helmsman  sits  on 
a  chair  during  his  turn,  and  conversation  goes  on  with  him  as 
freely  as  between  the  rest  of  the  crew.  Dinner  was  furnished 
them  at  the  hour  of  twelve.  The  crew  seated  themselves  about 
the  deck,  in  pairs,  a  single  plate  answering  for  two.  The  padrone 
and  another  ate  from  the  same  dish.  No  knives  were  used, 
but  a  fork  and  a  piece  of  hard  biscuit  served  for  implements. 
The  mate  placed  his  plate  on  the  companion-top,  at  a  convenient 
distance  from  the  helmsman,  who  had  no  difficulty  in  supplying 
himself  and  steering  the  vessel  at  the  same  time,  —  all  this, 
without  leaving  his  seat.  The  rest  of  the  crew  had  their  plates 
on  the  bare  deck,  or  placed  on  a  block  or  spar  as  they  chose  ; 
and  they  helped  themselves,  some  with  a  fork,  others  with 
their  fingers.  The  food  consisted  of  salads,  and  a  mess  of  fish 
and  herbs,  sliced  and  seethed  in  a  common  vessel.  It  was 
served  with  a  prodigious  quantity  of  stale  oil ;  and  to  judge 
from  the  fumes,  it  must  have  been  a  precious  olio.  The 
beverage  was  trashy  wine,  drank  from  bottles,  and  water  distrib- 
uted among  the  groups  in  stone  jars.  Miserable  as  is  such  fare, 
the  men  seem  to  thrive  on  it,  looking  nearly  as  stout,  though  not 
so  tall,  as  American  seamen  in  general.  During  the  meal, 
coarse  and  boisterous  jokes  passed  round  from  the  captain  to 
the  lowest  hand  of  the  company.  Indeed,  as  I  have  observed 
from  the  moment  of  coming  on  board,  all  talked  just  as  flippantly, 
and  confidently,  and  fiercely,  even  when  contradicted  by  the 
padrone,  as  if  all  w^ere  masters  and  independent  one  of  another. 

How  long  would  the  American  marine,  commercial  or 
military,  subsist  in  such  a  condition  ^  If  our  seamen  be 
ruled  strictly  on  board  ship,  do  they  not  find  an  equivalent 
in  their  relatively  high  wages,  and  the  abundant  and  sub- 
stantial fare  which  they  receive  at  their  three  daily  meals  ? 
As  the  replies  to  these  queries  can  be  easily  anticipated,  I  may 
pass  to  other  matters. 

It  is  a  pleasure  to  find  myself  approaching  the  period  of 
manumission.     We  have  had  thus  far,  a  favourable  run,  as 


284  PASSAGE  TO  SYRACUSE. 

respects  the  wind.  It  is  two  P.  M.,  and  Syracuse  is  only  three 
or  four  leagues  distant. 

Going  upon  deck  about  sunrise,  I  found  we  were  making  the 
coast  of  Sicily  under  a  gentle  breeze  ;  the  southeastern  prom- 
ontory was  then  not  more  than  fifteen  miles  off.  The  sky  was 
considerably  overcast ;  yet  over  and  far  above  the  shores  which 
were  heaving  into  view,  towered  the  Cyclopian  form  of  Mt. 
iEtna.  Its  broad  shoulders  glittered  with  their  snowy  mantle. 
Neither  with  my  naked  eye,  nor  a  glass,  have  I  been  able  to 
distinguish,  yet,  any  smoke  issuing  from  its  crater. 

At  ten,  we  had  approached  the  land  sufficiently  near  to  see 
gardens  and  vineyards,  corn-fields  and  olive  groves,  besides 
houses,  castles  and  towns.  The  coast,  and  the  country  within, 
appeared  well  studded  with  the  sites  of  human  population. 
An  hour  after,  we  passed  Cape  Passaro.  distant  about  a  league. 
On  an  island  in  advance  of  the  point,  is  a  small  fort,  formerly 
erected  as  a  defence  against  pirates.  It  is  still  garrisoned,  but 
at  present  is  of  little  use,  except  serving  as  a  place  of  confine- 
ment for  criminals,  particularly  military  offenders. 

Some  villages  succeeded,  in  which  the  inhabitants  were  seen 
abroad.  Several  walled  towns,  ornamented  with  turrets  and 
churches,  looked  very  picturesque.  These,  and  the  various 
objects  of  this  interesting  shore,  are  now  flitting  before  my  eyes. 
The  wind  has  freshened  into  a  strong  breeze,  which  is  bearing 
us  along  at  a  rapid  rate.  Syracuse  is  already  lifting  its  gray 
towers  into  view  ;  and  in  an  hour  more,  we  shall  probably  be  up 
with  the  ancient  Ortygia. 

The  propitiousness  of  the  voyage,  the  captain  piously  ascribes 
to  the  kind  offices  of  the  Virgin,  which,  it  seems,  he  bespoke 
before  leaving  Malta.  He  relies  for  general  success  in  his 
cruises  on  the  name  of  his  vessel,  and  a  litde  shrine  which  he 
has  dedicated  to  the  saint,  in  his  main  cabin.  The  brigantine  is 
called  Maria  Addolorata,  or  Mary  the  Afflicted.  In  a  recess 
of  the  cabin,  there  is  a  coloured  print  of  the  Virgin,  repre- 
senting  her   as  lifting  her  streaming  eyes  to  heaven,  with  a 


ARRIVAL.  285 

bosom  quite  unmaidenly  exposed,  into  which  a  great  sword  is 
thrust  in  allusion  to  the  scripture  which  says,  'Yea,  a  sword 
shall  pierce  through  thine  own  soul  also.'  The  niche  is  formed 
by  a  small  projection,  supported  by  four  little  pillars,  the  mould- 
ings of  which  are  tawdrily  gilt.  A  smoky  lamp  is  kept  burning 
before  the  picture  always  during  a  voyage,  but  as  there  is  no 
need  of  propitiating  the  Virgin  in  port,  it  is  then  extinguished. 
I  observed  the  padrone  and  sotto-padrone,  performing  their  hur- 
ried orisons  before  it,  separately,  in  the  course  of  the  morning. 
The  ceremony  in  each  instance,  lasted  about  one  minute,  and 
consisted  of  the  usual  pantomime  of  crossings,  genuflexions  and 
grimaces. 

Certes,  the  Virgin  must  feel  flattered  by  all  this  attention, 
especially  with  the  indulgence  of  a  lamp  !  —  But,  seriously, 
what  idolatry  is  there  in  such  worship ;  and  what  impiety  to  exalt 
the  spouse  of  Joseph  into  a  Divinity !  It  would  seem  that  the 
sacred  writers  had  said  the  least  possible  of  her;  —  and  that,  too, 
in  terms  not  always  the  most  respectful,  —  purposely,  to  prevent 
divine  honours  being  paid  to  her,  or  at  least,  to  leave  those 
without  excuse,  who  in  after  ages  might  render  them. 

Syracuse  ;  March  10.  — My  voyage  terminated  favourably. 
At  four  o'clock  yesterday,  we  were  anchored  in  the  harbour. 
The  distance  from  Valetta  is  computed  to  be  one  hundred  and 
twenty  miles,  and  as  it  had  been  sailed  in  twentythree  hours,  I 
had  no  reason  to  complain  of  the  length  of  the  passage.  On 
the  contrary,  its  safe  and  speedy  accomplishment  was  matter  of 
congratulation,  the  more  so,  as  it  was  obviously  owing  to  other 
auspices,  —  if  haply  not  those  of  the  Virgin,  —  than  the  skill 
and  good  conduct  of  the  padrone  and  his  turbulent  crew. 

A  boat  was  manned,  and  I  proceeded  to  report  myself  to  the 
authorities  on  shore.  As  we  drew  near  the  landing,  the  pa- 
drone who  accompanied  me,  called  out,  '  un  cavaliere  Ameri- 
cano ! '  and  stepping  upon  the  pier  of  the  Parlatorio,  the  first 
question  put  to  me  was,  whether  I  was  not  an  American  officer } 
I  replied,  that  I  had  no  pretensions  to  any  other  honour  than 
being  a  plain  American  citizen ;  and  then,  according  to  form, 


286  SYRACUSE. 

produced  my  passport.  It  was  examined  and  Immediately  pro- 
nounced '  Buono  ;'  and  I  was  invited  with  much  civility  to  enter 
the  office.  There  was  no  door  communicating  with  the  pier 
on  the  water  side,  and  as  it  was  some  distance  round,  through  a 
court,  to  reach  the  front  entrance,  a  chair  was  lowered  from  one 
of  the  windows,  on  which  I  mounted  ;  while  several  hands  were 
stretched  out  to  help  up  the  American  cavalier,  or  officer,  or 
citizen,  (or  whatever  else  he  might  choose  to  answer  to,)  and  a 
moment  after  I  was  lifted  into  the  room  of  audience.  The 
company  T  found  there  consisted  of  the  chief-officer,  (a  baron,) 
and  two  or  three  assistants ;  also,  a  reverend  padre  and  several 
gentlemen,  who  seemed  to  be  lounging  there  without  any  fixed 
object.  I  was  greeted  by  them  all  very  cordially,  and  being 
pressed  to  remain  till  the  consul  could  be  sent  for,  —  for  whom 
a  messenger  was  immediately  despatched  by  the  baron,  —  1 
took  a  seat  and  entered  into  conversation. 

I  was  asked  the  news,  particularly  in  relation  to  the  United 
States,  the  number  and  present  disposition  of  our  ships  of  war 
in  the  Mediterranean,  and  some  fine  compliments  were  paid  to 
our  marine.  The  baron  pronounced  our  national  ships  superb ; — 
('  magnifico  '  was  the  term  he  used,)  —  and  regretted  that  they 
did  not  oftener  touch  at  Syracuse.  He  had  known  Commo- 
dores Decatur,  Macdonough,  and  others,  and  was  sorry  to  learn 
that  the  first  was  dead.  The  company  all  expressed  the  hope 
of  seeing  the  North  Carolina  in  the  harbour  of  Syracuse,  before 
her  return  to  the  United  States.  They  told  me  that  a  number 
of  my  countrymen,  who  had  died  in  the  old  Tripolitan  war,  were 
buried  in  a  cemetery  not  far  distant,  and  that  the  spot  was  re- 
garded with  great  respect. 

The  American  consul,  —  Signor  Nicosia,  a  native  of  Syra- 
cuse, —  was  not  long  in  making  his  appearance,  and  in  arranging 
matters  to  get  a  pass  for  my  baggage  with  as  litde  inconvenience 
to  myself  as  possible.  He  introduced  me  to  an  English  gen- 
tleman who  has  resided  here  for  several  years,  and  who 
kindly  lent  his  services  to  expedite  my  setdement  on  shore. 
We  put  off  to  the  brigantine,  whither  the  custom-house  inspectors 


I 


PORT  OFFICERS— AN  INTERVIEW.  287 

had  already  gone  ;  my  keys  were  given  up,  but  the  examination 
was  a  mere  form.  The  trunks  were  all  that  were  opened  ; 
nothing  was  disturbed  or  displaced  in  them,  and  my  valises  were 
not  inspected  at  all.  The  whole  business  was  finished  in  two 
minutes  ;  no  charges  were  made,  and  money  which  I  offered 
to  the  underlings,  was  actually  refused. 

Among  my  luggage  was  a  box  which  had  been  put  under  my 
care  for  a  lady  in  Syracuse,  to  whom  I  had  also  an  introductory 
letter.  I  had  reason  to  believe  after  I  took  charge  of  it,  that  the 
box  contained  something  contraband ;  and  knowing  that  my 
own  trunks  would  not  bear  too  rigid  an  inspection,  on  account  of 
sundry  books  and  pamphlets,  heretical  alike  in  politics  and  re- 
ligion, I  felt  some  uneasiness  to  ascertain  how  they  would  pass 
muster.  I  have  mentioned  the  good  fortune  of  my  own  effects, 
and  as  for  the  box  it  fared  equally  well.  It  so  happened  that 
the  principal  officer,  charged  with  the  inspection  of  the  vessel, 
was  a  brother  of  the  lady  to  whom  it  was  addressed.  He  smiled 
on  making  the  discovery,  and  probably  his  dispositions  were  not 
lessened  to  grant  me  every  reasonable  indulgence  in  his  power. 
Be  this  as  it  may,  though  I  had  reason  to  expect  considerable 
embarrassment  on  entering  the  port,  (particularly,  as  the  Neapo- 
litan consul  at  Malta  threw  difficulties  in  the  way  of  my  coming 
here  at  all,  on  the  ground  of  my  being  a  republican  of  the  modern 
school,)  yet  from  all  the  offices,  —  Health,  Police  and  Custom, 
—  I  received  the  most  obliging  and  civil  treatment ;  and  the 
forms  of  examination  in  each  department  were  the  lightest 
possible. 

These  preliminaries  being  adjusted,  I  was  conducted  to  a 
house  where  lodgings  had  been  already  bespoken,  and  if  inferior 
to  those  I  left  in  Malta,  they  certainly  prove  much  more  com- 
fortable than  any  I  expected  to  find  in  Syracuse.  I  was  hardly 
fixed  in  my  quarters,  when  a  note  was  brought  me  from  a 
fellow-lodger,  inclosing  a  card  of  address  and  desiring  my  com- 
pany in  his  rooms.  It  was  Capt.  B  — ,  of  the  royal  navy.  He 
had   arrived  from  Palermo  a  few  hours   before  me,  and  had 


288  SYRACUSE. 

been  travelling  five  days  on  a  mule.  The  distance  is  one  hun- 
dred and  fifty  miles.  He  represented  the  roads  as  shocking, 
and  much  of  the  country  through  which  he  journeyed,  as  rude 
and  depopulated.  Altogether,  it  was  a  rough  jaunt,  and  had 
brought  on  a  smart  fit  of  the  gout,  which  he  offered  as  a 
sufficient  apology  for  not  calling  himself  upon  me.  I  found 
him  swathed  in  flannels,  having  his  legs  bolstered  upon  a  chair, 
and  certainly  looking  in  bad  plight,  something  like  a  disabled 
hulk,  to  which  he  facetiously  compared  himself.  A  table  was 
before  him  spread  with  a  dessert  of  fruit  and  wine,  and  indicating, 
as  I  thought,  the  ruling  passion  strong  in  pain ;  but  I  was  glad  to 
change  my  opinion  during  the  interview,  and  to  believe  that  to 
whatever  cause  he  owed  his  arthritick  complaints  originally, 
their  present  recurrence  was  really  ascribable  to  the  fatigues  of 
his  '  forced  march  '  across  the  island. 

I  respect  the  philosophy  of  a  man  who  can  rally  spirits  to  jest 
under  an  attack  of  the  gout.  The  captain  had  all  this,  and  he 
struck  me  as  a  pleasant  and  gentlemanly  man,  possessed  of  a 
liberality  not  always  found  in  his  countrymen  in  the  same  pro- 
fession. He  introduced  the  subject  of  the  late  war,  spoke  jocu- 
larly of  the  English  defeat  at  New  Orleans,  and  expressed  in 
strong  terms  his  sense  of  the  naval  valour  and  commercial  enter- 
prise of  the  people  of  the  United  States.  Of  course,  I  was  not 
behind  him  in  suitable  compliments  by  way  of  exchange.  For 
much  as  I  dislike  the  government  of  England,  and  its  selfish, 
narrow  and  jealous  policy  in  relation  to  other  powers,  particularly 
to  America  ever  since  its  independence,  no  one  can  withhold 
from  the  English  character  generally,  and  from  many  of  the 
institutions  and  more  of  achievements  of  the  country,  the  homage 
which  is  due  to  preeminent  national  merit. 

The  captain  informed  me  that  he  was  appointed  to  the  com- 
mand of  his  majesty's  ship,  Chanticleer,  but  was  ignorant  where 
he  should  find  her,  whether  at  Malta  or  Corfu.  I  was  able  to 
satisfy  him  on  this  point,  as  I  had  seen  her  in  the  harbour  of  Va- 
letta  on  the  afternoon  of  my  sailing,  and  had  left  the  commander 


CHARACTERISTICS.  289 

whom  he  was  ordered  to  supersede,  in  snug  quarters  at  Vicaiy's. 
An  English  cutter  belonging  to  Malta  having  touched  here  this 
morning,  Capt.  B.  departed  in  her,  much  to  my  regret. 

There  is  something  very  singular  in  the  composition  of  an 
Englishman's  character.  His  distrust  of  strangers  is  proverbial, 
but  it  is  a  distrust  directed  quite  as  much  against  his  own  coun- 
trymen as  foreigners.  Indeed,  1  have  generally  perceived  when 
Englishmen  have  fallen  in  my  way,  that  the  shyness  and  reserve 
which  they  would  maintain,  so  long  as  they  supposed  that  I  was 
one  of  their  countrymen,  would  relax  on  finding  me  to  be  a 
foreigner.  While  abroad,  they  commonly  exhibit  a  cold  and 
repulsive  exterior  which  is  anything  but  prepossessing.  There 
is  a  certain  moody,  clouded  and  sulky  look,  which  they  bear 
about  with  them,  that  seems  to  indicate  a  dissatisfaction  with 
everything  they  see.  I  have  had  pretty  good  opportunities  of 
ascertaining  the  impressions  produced  by  travelling  Englishmen 
on  the  continent.  In  181 7,  on  an  extensive  tour  through  France, 
Holland,  Switzerland,  and  in  Germany,  I  met  them  everywhere  ; 
but  I  am  sorry  to  say,  that  they  were  by  no  means  generally 
popular  among  the  people  they  visited.  A  Parisian  or  a  Gene- 
van could  not  relish  the  scornful  air  with  which  they  walked  the 
streets  of  their  respective  cities,  and  his  dislike  would  be  fre- 
quently muttered  as  they  passed.  But  I  believe,  after  all,  that 
it  is  the  manner  only  which  needs  correcting.  An  Englishman 
has  a  good  heart.  It  is  only  encrusted  with  a  rough  and  un- 
promising rind.  Remove  that,  and  his  social  temperament  is 
found  to  be  of  sterling  sort.  He  becomes  a  warm,  generous, 
and  devoted  friend,  yielding  to  none  in  sincerity,  constancy  and 
the  most  solid  worth. 

But  I  must  return  from  this  episode,  to  speak  of  the  men  and 
things  of  Sicily.  Leaving  my  English  acquaintance  last  eve- 
ning, and  having  despatched  a  light  repast,  which  was  served 
with  promptitude,  and  rendered  more  agreeable  by  contrast  with 
the  cold  provisions  which  my  baskets  had  furnished  on  ship- 
board, I  was  glad  to  betake  myself  to  my  chamber.  The  eve- 
ning was  raw,  and  I  had  requested  a  fire,  but  was  told  that 
37 


290  SYRACUSE. 

there  was  no  apartment  in  the  house,  besides  the  kitchen, 
provided  with  a  fireplace.  The  floor  of  my  chamber,  like  all 
the  other  rooms,  was  of  stone.  As  there  was  no  carpet,  I  asked 
for  some  substitute  to  be  placed  by  my  bedside,  and  with 
difficulty  a  small  mat  and  a  rug  were  procured.  The  latter 
proved  to  be  a  green  breakfast  table-cloth.  The  bedstead  w^as 
of  iron,  like  those  in  universal  use  in  Malta.  The  bars,  being 
made  no  larger  than  the  legs  of  a  common  chair  and  painted 
green,  resembled  a  light  frame-work  of  wood  scarcely  strong 
enough  to  support  a  baby's  weight.  This  kind  of  bedstead  has 
the  advantage  of  cheapness  and  durability.  In  Malta  the  price 
of  the  best  is  only  from  eight  to  ten  dollars,  and  a  good  one 
would  outlast  several  generations.  It  is  very  serviceable  in  these 
warm  climates  in  offering  no  convenient  nooks  for  vermin,  as 
bedsteads  after  our  fashion,  if  transported  here,  assuredly  would. 
How  one  feels  reclining  on  an  iron  couch  in  a  smart  thunder 
shower,  with  the  consciousness  of  so  many  metallic  conduc- 
tors about  him,  I  cannot  say.  As  it  was,  I  enjoyed  last  night 
the  luxury  of  rest  in  a  sleep  too  deep  to  admit  of  dreams,  and 
arose  fresh  this  morning,  for  the  sights  and  toils  of  a  busy  and 
crowded  day. 

In  undertaking  my  descriptions  of  Syracuse,  I  shall  commence 
with  nearest  objects,  which  naturally  attracted  attention  first,  and 
shall  aim  to  follow  out  the  narrative  of  incidents  in  the  order  in 
which  they  occurred. 

The  house  in  which  I  am  lodged  fronts  on  a  square,  the  only 
one  in  the  city  worthy  of  the  name,  and  the  buildings  which  sur- 
round it  are  fast  dilapidating.  Just  opposite,  is  a  large  mansion, 
the  property  of  a  baron.  Adjoining  the  Albergo  on  the  left,  there 
is  a  still  greater  structure.  One  half  of  it  is  used  as  a  theatre, 
the  other  as  a  town-hall.  Next  comes  the  cathedral  of  Santa 
Lucia,  and  then  the  palace  of  the  bishop.  A  few  other  edifices, 
—  one  a  convent,  another  a  church,  and  the  rest,  private 
houses,  —  complete  the  buildings  on  the  square.  Like  every 
ihing  else  in  the  city,  they  have  a  wasting  appearance. 


CATHEDRAL  SQUARE  —  GENERAL  VIEW.  29 1 

This  square  is  called  the  Cathedral  Piazza,  in  compliment  to 
the  metropolitan  church  of  Santa  Lucia.  Each  of  the  principal 
cities  and  most,  if  not  all,  the  considerable  towns,  of  Sicily,  have 
severally  a  patron  or  patroness,  par  eminence,  in  the  sainted 
fraternity.  Sta  Lucia  is  the  divinity  here,  Sta  Rosalia  at 
Palermo,  Sta  Agadia  at  Catania,  and  Madonna  Maria  della 
Lettera  at  Messina.  ^^ 

The  mansion  opposite,  owned,  as  I  have  remarked,  by  a  baron, 
is  a  sad  monument  of  his  reckless  and  prodigal  courses.  He  suc- 
ceeded in  early  life  to  an  ample  inheritance,  and  was  reputed  one 
of  the  richest  nobles  in  this  part  of  Sicily.  When  the  English 
were  in  possession  of  the  island  he  affected  their  manners,  fash-* 
ions  and  costly  tastes,  gave  sumptuous  entertainments,  sported  a 
grand  equipage,  kept  a  numerous  stud,  and  maintained  a  swarm 
of  leeches  under  the  name  of  servants  ;  and  by  means  of  these 
suckers,  and  the  help  of  cards,  the  table  and  the  turf,  he  contrived 
in  the  most  genteel  and  expeditious  method  to  post  to  the  end  of 
his  estates.  At  present,  as  I  am  told,  he  is  content  to  occupy  a 
few  mean  apartments  on  an  upper  floor  of  his  once  lordly 
dwelling.  The  lower  rooms  are  set  off  in  shops,  which  let  for 
trifling  rents.  The  general  aspect  of  the  building  is  that  of  ne- 
glect j  poverty  and  decay.  Yet  the  arms  and  coronet  of  the 
nominal  proprietor  remain  sculptured  over  the  grand  entrance  of 
the  court,  and  on  other  conspicuous  parts  of  the  fabric. 

Syracuse  is  walled  entirely  round.  Reduced  to  a  mere  wreck, 
it  occupies  only  the  island  site  of  the  old  Ortygia.  The  fortifi- 
cations are  irregular,  but  respectable  for  strength.  The  walls  in 
some  places  are  thirty  feet  high.  The  town  is  connected  with  the 
main-land  by  several  gates  and  drawbridges.  The  streets  are 
mostly  dark,  narrow  and  crooked  ;  one,  which  was  of  considera- 
ble extent,  I  actually  found  by  measurement  today,  to  be  in  width 
not  twice  the  length  of  a  common  walking  stick.  Even  the  prin- 
cipal street  is  but  about  ten  yards  wide.  There  is,  however,  a 
pleasant  drive  on  the  ramparts  which  is  continued  quite  round 
the  city.  It  is  the  only  agreeable  part  of  it  which  I  have  been 
able  to  discover.     Coming  into  town  last  evening,  I  passed  a 


292  SYRACUSE. 

large,  rusty  looking  building,  which  was  pointed  out  as  the  gov- 
ernor's house.  It  resembles,  with  its  black  walls  and  iron  grated 
windows,  a  huge  jail.  It  stands  at  the  intersection  of  two  streets, 
and  no  dog's  kennel  could  be  fouler  than  the  main  entrance.  A 
soldier  was  standing  sentry.  He  had  more  need  of  a  smelling 
bottle,  than  a  cartouch-box. 

The  population  of  Syracuse  is  estimated  at  fifteen  thousand 
souls.  I  doubt  if  a  fair  census  would  yield  so  large  an  amount 
by  two  or  three  thousand.  The  space  within  the  walls,  though 
limited,  appears  too  great  for  the  wants  of  the  present  inhabitants. 
Syracuse,  on  a  larger  scale  indeed,  is  relatively  much  the  same 
shell  of  a  city  that  Citta  Vecchia  is,  in  Malta.  Yet  anciently, 
when  besides  Ortygia,  it  embraced  the  three  great  divisions  of 
Acradina,  Tyche  and  Neapolis,  it  numbered  some  hundreds  of 
thousands  of  people. 

In  the  course  of  the  morning  Signor  Nicosia  called,  in  com- 
pany with  a  friend  from  Messina  who  prides  himself  on  his  inti- 
mate knowledge  of  all  the  antiquities  of  this  interesting  shore  ; 
and  with  this  double  escort  I  set  forth,  to  explore  the  curious 
remains,  intra  muros.  We  began  with  the  cathedral  of  Santa 
Lucia, —  not  because  it  is  a  Catholic  church,  but  because  it  was 
formerly  a  pagan  fane.  It  was  no  other  than  the  famous  temple 
of  Minerva,  the  erection  of  which  dates  almost  from  the  founda- 
tion of  Syracuse.  For  twentyfive  hundred  years  it  has  never 
ceased  to  be  used  as  a  place  of  worship  of  some  sort,  and  its 
pavement  has  been  trod  by  the  feet  of  myriads  of  votaries. 
The  temple  is  still,  as  of  old,  dedicated  to  a  female  divinity, 
—  Saint  Lucy  having  become  the  residuary  legatee  of  all  the 
rights,  privileges  and  appurtenances  of  the  discarded  heathen 
goddess. 

If  the  accounts  given  of  the  ancient  magnificence  of  this  struc- 
ture may  be  depended  on,  it  was  inferior  to  few  pagan  temples 
in  wealth  and  splendor.  It  was  enriched  with  beautiful 
sculptures,  paintings  and  portraits  ;  and  until  the  time  of  Verres, 
it  was  adorned  with  gates  of  gold,  ivory  and  bronze.  On  the 
summit  of  the  pile  was  placed  the  polished  shield,  on  losing  sight 


TEMPLE  OF  MINERVA  — MUSEUM.  293 

of  which,  mariners  were  accustomed  to  throw  their  offerings  of 
honey,  flowers  and  ashes  into  the  sea.  And  it  is  supposed 
that  the  famous  meridian  of  Archimedes  stood  on  the  same  part, 
the  '  fastigium,'  of  the  building. 

Outside  of  the  temple  I  observed  three  curious  old  columns. 
The  front  wall  of  the  building  itself  is  composed  partly  of  an 
ancient  row  of  Doric  pillars,  twenty  four  in  number,  but  having 
their  intercolumniations  filled  up,  they  look  more  like  pilasters 
than  solid  columns.  The  effect  is  bad  and  the  taste  vicious. 
They  stand  inside  of  a  clumsy  facade.  The  entablatures  and 
much  of  the  original  walls,  roof  and  other  parts  of  the  edifice 
remain,  and  they  exhibit  great  strength.  The  chapel  assigned  to 
the  tutelary  genius  of  the  temple  in  modern  times,  is  very  rich. 
Her  statue  is  made  of  silver.  I  remarked  a  baptismal  basin  of 
great  size  and  value.  It  was  a  marble  vase  with  Greek  inscrip- 
tions, and  supported  by  several  small  images  of  lions  in  bronze. 
Its  antiquity  is  undoubted.  It  was  dug  up  among  the  ruins  of 
the  neighbourhood.  —  The  general  aspect  of  the  structure,  aside 
from  the  venerable  associations  connected  with  it,  is  displeasing. 

From  the  cathedral  we  went  to  the  Museum.  It  belongs  to  the 
city  corporation.  The  collection  is  not  large,  but  it  boasts  a  few 
antiques  of  great  value.  Among  the  marbles  are  a  colossal  bust 
of  Jupiter  Liberator,  a  statue  of  Apollo,  and  another,  a  smaller 
one,  of  ^sculapius  with  the  usual  emblem  of  the  serpent.  But 
the  most  precious  object  by  far,  is  a  statue  of  Venus,  known  as 
the  Landolina.  It  is  justly  celebrated.  The  tournure  and  polish 
of  the  limbs  are  exquisite.  The  bosom  is  almost  heaving.  The 
goddess  is  represented  in  nudity,  with  the  exception  of  a  robe 
which  she  is  gathering  up  before  her  with  one  hand,  but  which 
reaches  no  higher  than  her  middle.  With  the  other  hand 
she  is  supposed  to  be  holding  a  screen  before  her  bosom,  but 
that  appendage  has  long  since  been  lost.  At  her  feet  is  a  muti- 
lated dolphin.  The  head  of  the  statue  is  wanting  ;  yet  with  all 
these  injuries  and  losses  it  is  a  superb  remain,  and  vies  with  the 
three  famous  Venuses,  — the  Calipygean,Capitoline  and  Medi- 
cian,  —  at  Naples,  Rome  and  Florence. 


294  SYRACUSE. 

Ill  the  museum  are  basso  relievos  of  various  heads  or  full 
lengths,  sarcophagi,  (one  of  them  very  large,)  sepulchral  tablets 
with  Greek  inscriptions,  funereal  urns,  lachrymatories,  ancient 
lamps,  medals,  amphorae  and  paterae.  Several  of  the  latter  are 
storied  with  characters  in  Greco-Sicilian.  These  were  all 
found  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Syracuse. 

We  went  next  to  the  Chiesa  di  San  Filippo,  to  inspect  a  sub- 
terranean Bath,  the  entrance  of  which  is  through  the  church. 
We  descended  by  a  spiral  staircase  to  the  depth  of 'forty  or 
fifty  feet,  and  entered  a  kind  of  crypt,  where  was  a  reservoir  of 
the  most  limpid  water  fed  by  some  hidden  spring.  Adjacent  to 
the  bath  is  a  chamber  of  considerable  dimensions,  hewn  with 
great  regularity  from  the  solid  rock.  It  is  lined  with  a  row  of 
seatSj  which  are  likewise  cut  from  the  native  stone,  but  ap- 
pearing much  worn,  partly,  it  is  probable,  on  account  of  long 
detrition  by  moisture.  The  discoverers  of  a  fountain  in  such 
a,'  place,  as  well  as  the  builders  of  the  bath,  are  certainly  entitled 
to  credit  on  the  score  of  ingenuity.  ^^ 

The  bath  was  not  the  only  object  of  curiosity  connected  with 
the  Chiesa  San  Filippo  ;  at  least,  so  thought  the  priest  in  atten- 
dance. Every  Catholic  church  has  something  of  real  or  fancied 
value,  —  a  shrine,  a  picture,  or  a  relic,  —  appropriate  to  itself. 
The  spiritual  wealth  of  San  Filippo  is  made  up  of  the  bones  of 
two  saints,  Thraso  and  Saturninus,  said  to  be  brought  from  Rome 
and  found  in  the  Via  Salaria.  They  are  preserved  in  a  large 
casket  under  the  altar.  It  was  opened  for  my  inspection,  but  I 
cannot  say  that  I  was  particularly  gratified  with  the  spectacle. 
If  my  faith  had  been  sufficiently  strong  in  the  identity  of  the 
head  pointed  out  as  Thraso's,  to  have  allowed  me  to  suppose 
that  it  was  the  Christian  hero's,  whom  Valerius  saw  contending 
nobly  on  the  arena  of  the  Flavian  amphitheatre,  the  interest 
raiight  have  been  of  another  sort  and  something  magnified. 

I  was  glad  to  hasten  thence  'to  the  classic  Fountain  of  Are- 
th'usa.  This  famous  spring,  celebrated  from  remote  antiquity, 
has  other  pretensions  to  consideration  than  the  attractions  which 
it  owes  to  the  muse.  It  it  a  wonderful  fountain  in  itselfj  gushing 
up  with  great  copiousness  near  the  sea,  and  forming  a  respecta- 


FOUNT  OF  ARETHUSA  —  ALPHEUS,  295 

ble  rivulet  from  its  very  source.  It  rises  in  a  grotto  naturally 
arched  with  a  firm  roof  of  stone,  so  strong  that  the  outer  street 
of  the  city,  a  sort  of  boulevard,  is  carried  directly  over  it.  The 
spot  is.  not  farther  fi'om  the  sea,  in  a  straight  line,  than  twelve 
or  fourteen  yards.  The  current  pours  over  a  rocky  ledge  into 
a  circular  pool,  whence  it  issues  by  a  winding  course,  tumbling 
and  foaming  as  it  goes,  till  reaching  the  sea-wall,  when  it  leaps 
headlong  into  the  briny  deep.  The  w^aters  at  their  source  are 
exceedingly  clear  and  fresh,  but  they  are  not  permitted  to  retain 
their  purity  even  to  the  end  of  their  short  and  rapid  course. 
Anciently,  it  was  venerated  with  divine  honours,  and  a  company 
of  nymphs  was  specially  set  apart  to  guard  it.  Now,  it  is  daily 
profaned  by  another  set  of  personages,  the  common  laundresses 
of  Syracuse,  who  make  no  scruple  to  wash  their  '  lots '  of  clothes 
in  its  waters.  In  and  about  the  Fount  and  stream,  we  saw  be- 
tween forty  and  fifty  dames  and  damsels  of  all  ages  from 
sixty  down  to  sixteen,  who,  literally  half  naked,  pursued  their 
occupations  totally  careless  of  observation.  Their  custom  is  to 
pin  their  dress  up  as  high  as  convenience  may  possibly  admit, 
then  station  themselves  in  the  water,  which  in  no  case  would 
reach  above  their  Imees,  and  wash,  and  scrub,  and  laugh  and 
joke,  no  matter  who  sees,  or  hears  or  may  be  passing.  Of 
course,  they  made  no  scruple  of  walking  in  and  out,  in  all  this 
dishabille,  just  as  their  humour  or  employments  suited.  Poor 
Arethusa  !  alas,  that  thy  virgin  modesty,  which  shrunk  from  the 
amorous  embrace  of  a  river-god,  and  which  was  sung  and  ad- 
mired by  bards  of  yore,  should  not  shield  thy  chaste  fount  in 
this  degenerate  age  from  such  dishonour  and  desecration  ! 

It  is  a  curious  fact  that  another  copious  spring  rises  from  the 
bottom  of  the  harbour,  at  some  distance  from  the  shore,  with  so 
much  force  that  the  water  retains  its  freshness  almost  to  the  very 
surface.  The  position  is  marked  by  little  eddies  and  bubbles 
always  distinguishable  in  calm  weather ;  and  even  when  the  har- 
bour is  ruffled  with  winds,  the  water  which  is  drawn  up  from 
a  little  beneath  the  surface,  and  just  over  the  site  of  the  spring,  is 
found  sufficiently  pure  for  drinking. 


296  SYRACUSE. 

As  the  second  fountain  lies  in  the  direction  towards  Greece,  it 
has  been  seriously  thought  by  many  to  justify  the  poetical  con- 
ceit oftlie  ancients,  that  the  river  Alpheus,  after  flowing  through 
Elis  in  vain  pursuit  of  the  coy  Arethusa,  then  disappearing  under 
the  sea  and  continuing  his  course  for  five  hundred  miles,  rises  in 
this  place  to  join  the  fugitive  nymph. "^  For  it  is  deemed  equally 
heterodox  to  dispute  the  tradition,  either  that  the  submarine 
fountain  is  the  Grecian  Alpheus,  or  that  the  Syracusan  Arethusa 
is  the  same  with  that  of  Elis.  In  support  of  these  opinions  it  is 
alleged  that  leaves  and  flowers,  natives  of  Greece,  have  risen  on 
the  surface  of  the  Sicilian  spring  ;  and  that  a  golden  cup,  woaat 
the  Olympic  games  and  thrown  into  the  Elian  Arethusa,  was  af- 
terwards brought  up  by  this  at  Syracuse.  Strabo  devoted  a  page 
to  a  grave  discussion  of  the  philosophy  and  likelihood  of  the  tale. 

Few  fountains  have  rivalled  Arethusa  in  renown.  Besides 
the  notice  which  Strabo  takes  of  it,  it  is  mendoned  by  Pliny  and 
Lucan,  Virgil  and  Ovid  among  the  Romans  ;  and  at  an  earlier 
period,  it  figured  in  the  sweet  pastorals  of  Theocritus  and  Mos- 
chus.  It  was  dedicated  in  remote  times  to  Diana,  and  a  magni- 
ficent temple  was  erected  to  the  goddess  in  its  immediate 
neighbourhood. 

On  our  walk  back,  I  was  shown  the  Casino,  or  conversa- 
zioni room,  a  place  of  resort  for  Syracusan  quid  nuncs,  some- 
thing like  our  Insurance  offices.  The  apartment  occupies  the 
ground  floor  of  a  building,  in  front  of  which  a  row  of  Theban 
pillars  has  been  set  up.  They  are  among  the  remains  of  the 
ancient  magnificence  of  Syracuse,  and  were  brought  from  Egypt 
probably  several  centuries  before  the  Christian  era.  The  shaft 
of  each  column  is  formed  of  a  single  massive  block  of  granite. 

*  '  Alphaeum  fama  est  hue  Elidis  amnem 

Ocullas  egisse  vias  subter  mare  ;  qui  nunc 
Ore,  Arethusa,  tuo  Siculis  confunditur  undis.' 

JEn.  vv.  G94— 6. 
Alpheus,  as  old  Fame  reports,  has  found 
From  Greece  a  secret  passage  under  ground, 
By  love  to  beauteous  Arethusa  led; 
And  mingling  here,  they  roll  in  nuptial  bed. 

Dry  den. 


ARCHIMEDES  — A  JAUNT.  297 

In  the  neighbourhood  I  saw  a  number  of  mutilated  pillars,  most 
of  them  prostrate  and  all  of  great  antiquity.  Indeed,  fragments 
of  columns,  broken  marbles,  entablatures  and  other  venerable 
relics  are  strewn  through  die  city.  They  are  worked  up  as 
materials  in  various  modern  edifices,  and  used  for  repairs 
on  the  walls. 

The  memory  of  Archimedes  appears  to  be  universally  ven- 
erated in  Syracuse.  From  the  familiar  but  respectful  mendon 
made  of  him,  he  seems  to  have  belonged  to  an  age  as  recent  as 
that  of  Franklin  ;  and  one  is  almost  tempted  in  meeting  with  an 
aged  Syracusan  to  ask,  if  he  did  not  remember  seeing  the  philo- 
sopher in  his  youth.  At  any  rate,  the  impression  left  by  his  name 
here  is  more  vivid,  apparently,  than  that  associated  by  us  with 
Franklin.  The  walls  of  the  conversazioni  room  are  covered  with 
pictures  of  his  mechanical  exploits.  One  is  very  spirited, 
and  represents  his  lifdng,  with  his  famous  levers  and  grapples,  the 
galleys  of  Marcellus  from  the  water,  and  then  sinking,  or 
dashing  them  against  the  rocks. 

At  two,  P.  M.,  in  a  curricle  and  pair,  politely  placed  at  my 

disposal  by  the  baron  M ,  and  accompanied  by  tne   consul, 

1  proceeded  to  visit  some  of  the  antiquides  in  the  environs. 
Near  the  gates  we  were  joined  by  two  friends,  who  had 
likewise  undertaken  to  lend  their  services  as  ciceronis  in  the 
interesting  little  tour.  Every  Syracusan  seems  to  claim  the 
merit  of  a  conoscente  in  whatever  illustrates  the  ancient  history 
of  his  city  and  state  ;  and  in  poindng  out  to  strangers  the  curi- 
osities of  olden  umes,  he  apparently  takes  great  pleasure. 
The  secret  is,  that  in  the  life  of  comparative  idleness  which  he  is 
compelled  to  lead,  he  is  thrown  upon  the  past.  The  offspring 
of  a  decayed  but  illustrious  race,  he  lives  upon  the  merits  and 
honours  of  his  ancestors.  He  glories  in  the  Syracuse  which 
was,  rather  than  in  that  which  is. 

In  passing  from  the  town,  we  crossed  over  four  drawbridges, 

and  through  five  barriers  of  gates.     Great  pains  have  been  taken 

to  strengthen  the  fordfications  on  the  land  side,  and  in  this  part 

they  have  certainly  an  imposing  appearance.     Yet  the  town^  I 

38 


298 


SYRACUSE. 


make  no  doubt,  might  be  breached  with  little  difficulty  on  any 
other  quarter,  —  except,  possibly,  the  castle  point,  —  and  by 
such  an  opening,  a  storming  party,  landing  from  boats  under 
cover  of  a  supporting  fire,  might  gain  a  lodgment  within  the 
walls.  Time  itself  is  doing  the  work  quite  as  surely,  though 
more  gradually ;  for  the  defences  of  Syracuse  generally  are 
sinking  into  decay.  It  is  worthy  of  remark,  that  most  of  the 
guns  have  been  removed  from  the  ramparts  and  the  remainder 
have  been  dismounted,  since  the  Carbonari  insurrection.  The 
reason  assigned  is  the  weakness  of  government,  and  a  fear,  very 
natural,  lest  in  another  revolutionary  movement,  the  cannon  of 
this  post  might  be  turned  against  itself. 

We  entered  first  on  the  site  of  the  ancient  Acradina.  It  was 
one  of  the  four  grand  divisions  of  Syracuse,  —  Ortygia,  Tyche 
and  Neapolis,  being  the  names  of  the  others.  To  these,  some 
topographers  have  added  a  fifth,  called  Epipolae ;  but  it  was 
more  properly  a  populous  suburb,  extra  moenia.  Acradina 
alone  once  numbered  four  hundred  thousand  inhabitants ;  now, 
it  is  desolate  of  habitations.  A  few  peasants  cultivate  the  soil, 
which  formerly  was  covered  with  lordly  and  luxurious  dwellings. 

This  district  is  chiefly  uninclosed.  I  was  struck  with  the 
earliness  and  freshness  of  advancing  vegetation.  The  soil  and 
climate  seem  alike  kindly,  and  the  verdure  at  this  season  is 
peculiarly  beautiful.  But  to  me,  there  was  something  melan- 
choly in  contemplating  the  green  and  variegated  mantle  of 
spring,  thrown  over  a  spot  once  teeming  with  life  and  resounding 
to  the  hum  of  a  busy  and  joyous  population.  The  gayness  of 
such  a  vesture  looked  wholly  out  of  place.  It  was  as  a  robe 
assumed  and  worn  in  mockery. 

The  plain  is  sprinkled  with  trees  of  beautiful  varieties. 
Am6ng  them,  I  remarked  the  almond  and  apricot  in  full  blos- 
som, the  fig  putting  forth  its  tender  leaves,  the  green  olive,  the 
tall  crested  date,  the  lemon,  citron,  and  orange,  —  several  of 
them  bending  with  golden  fruit.  We  passed  some  vineyards, 
the  canes  of  which  were  duly  arranged  for  the  coming  season, 
to  aid  the  young  shoots  and  tendrils  in  climbing.     In  a  few  other 


SUBURBS  — PHILOSOPHER'S  TOMB.  299 

spots,  flocks  of  cattle  and  sheep  were  quietly  grazing.  Asses 
laden  with  immense  panniers,  and  straggling  priests,  peasants 
and  soldiers,  were  occasionally  met  on  the  highway.  The 
common  people  are  in  the  habit  of  bearing  very  large  burdens 
on  their  heads.  If  they  be  as  weighty  as  they  are  bulky,  the 
wonder  is,  how  they  can  sustain  them. 

At  some  distance  on  our  left,  there  was  a  stately  aqueduct 
with  ivy-clad  arches,  striding  like  a  giant  across  the  waste,  and 
bearing  an  exhaustless  supply  of  crystal  waters  to  the  reser- 
voirs on  the  island.  A  picturesque  scene  was  exhibited  in  one 
place  around  two  old  wells,  the  solid  stone  curbs  about  the 
mouths  of  which,  and  the  antiquated  drawing  apparatus  seemed 
to  mark  an  age  coeval  with  the  fallen  city.  Men.  and  women, 
sheep  and  goats,  mules  and  asses,  were  huddled  promiscuously 
about  them.  There  was  much  of  noise  and  stir  and  activity, 
and  from  the  confusion  going  on,  a  strife  might  be  apprehended, 
like  that  in  more  primitive  times  between  the  herdsmen  of 
Abraham  and  of  Lot.  But  not  staying  to  see  the  issue,  we 
drove  from  the  plain  of  Acradina  and  crossing  a  corner  of  the 
old  quarter  of  Tyche,  entered  the  district  of  Neapolis,  or  the 
New  City.  Alas,  neither  city,  town,  nor  village,  —  new  or 
old,  —  and  scarce  a  solitary  human  dv/elling,  can  be  found 
throughout  its  extensive  area. 

The  road  winding  up  a  gentle  slope  at  length  intersected 
another,  called  the  Street  of  Sepulchres,  from  its  leading  in  a 
narrow  defile  between  hills  faced  on  either  side  with  ancient 
tombs.  Near  the  entrance  of  this  passage,  and  about  one 
hundred  yards  from  the  spot  traditionally  remembered  as  the 
place  of  the  Agragian  Gate,  stands  the  tomb  of  Archimedes. 
The  locality  agrees  very  Well  with  the  description  given  of  it  by 
Cicero.  The  ancients  were  in  the  habit  of  burying  their  dead 
without  the  walls  of  their  cities  ;  and  the  sepulchres  of  Syra- 
cuse came  up  to  its  very  gates  on  this  quarter.  '  There  is,' 
says  the  Roman  orator,  ^  close  by  the  Agragian  port,  a  vast 
number  of  tombs.  Examining  them  with  care,  I  perceived  a 
monument   a   little   elevated   above   a   thicket,  whereon   was 


QQQ  SYRACUSE. 

inscribed  the  figure  of  a  cylinder  and  sphere.  Immediately  I 
said  to  the  Syracusan  nobles  who  attended  me,  That  this  must 
be  the  tomb  of  which  I  was  in  search.'  ^^ 

We  alighted  to  take  a  nearer  view  of  it.  In  front,  is  a  nar- 
row strip  of  cultivated,  unfenced  ground,  and  just  at  the  entrance, 
a  few  brambles  and  rank  weeds  are  growing.  The  tomb  is 
excavated  from  a  native  bed  of  rock,  the  face  of  which,  natu- 
rally projecting,  is  shaped  about  the  opening  into  a  rude  Doric 
front,  with  pilasters  and  a  pediment.  No  traces  of  the  inscrip- 
tion are  visible,  nor  is  this  to  be  wondered  at,  for  even  in  the 
time  of  Cicero,  the  characters  were  partially  worn  away.  The 
entrance  of  the  tomb  is  sufficiently  high  to  allow  a  person  of  full 
stature  to  walk  in,  without  stooping.  The  interior  is  of  mode- 
rate dimensions.  It  is  truly  '  The  dark  and  narrow  house.' 
In  a  recess  on  the  right,  large  enough  to  receive  a  modern  lead 
coffin,  the  remains  of  the  philosopher  are  supposed  to  have  been 
laid  ;  but  the  sarcophagus,  if  any  there  were,  has  long  since 
disappeared.  On  the  opposite  side,  are  full-length  receptacles 
for  bodies  ;  and  fronting  the  entrance,  there  are  smaller  depos- 
itories, cut  like  the  others  from  the  solid  rock,  and  adapted  for 
urns,  or  the  coffins  of  children.  The  tomb  appears  to  have 
been  the  family  sepulchre  of  Archimedes  ;  but  the  ashes  of  the 
human  forms,  which  once  filled  its  niches,  have  for  ages  been 
dispersed  to  the  four  winds. 

The  hill,  at  the  foot  of  which  this  tomb  has  been  opened,  is  a 
vast  ledge  of  rock  slightly  covered  with  shrubs  and  grass.  Fol- 
lowing the  path  at  its  base,  I  perceived  a  great  many  other 
tombs  yawning  from  its  sides,  the  '  magna  frequentia  sepulchro- 
rum,'  spoken  of  by  Cicero,  The  street  of  sepulchres  is  fitly 
named ;  and  the  spectacle  it  offers  excites  in  the  bosom  a  train 
of  solemn  emotions.  Not  one  of  the  tombs  throughout  the  long- 
drawn  range  on  either  hand  retains  the  bones  or  even  the  dust 
of  its  ancient  occupants.  They  are  all  open,  despoiled  and 
empty.  We  talk  of  the  fidelity  of  the  grave ;  but  what  can  be 
more  faithless  ?  If  not  invaded  by  the  hand  of  cupidity  and 
violence,  the  elements  force  open  its  prison  doors,  and  the  ashes 


SEPULCHRES  —  LATOMI^.  301 

committed  to  its  trust  are  suffered  to  escape.  The  tenements 
of  the  dead  are  no  more  permanent  possessions  than  those  of 
the  living.  Neither  pyramids,  catacombs,  nor  mausoleums, 
neither  tumuli  nor  cairns,  raths  nor  barrows,  are  secure  from 
intrusion,  and  spoliation.  What  retreat  for  the  dead  could  seem- 
ingly be  more  safe  than  one  of  these  cells  hewn  from  a  rockj 
when  the  stone,  as  at  the  first,  was  rolled  to  its  mouth,  and  was 
sealed  and  made  fast  ?  Yet  none  of  them  have  proved  inviolate  ; 
and  though  the  bodies  originally  consigned  to  them  were  thought 
destined  to  rest  in  their  '  narrow  beds,'  till  the  heavens  be  no 
more,  their  decomposed  and  separated  particles  have  entered 
into  new  combinations  with  innumerable  other  substances,  aeri- 
form, vegetable  or  animal.  And  many  generations  of  the  dead 
might  have  been  successively  accommodated  in  the  self-same 
spots.  The  mole  of  Adrian,  and  the  pyramid  of  Cheops  are 
standing  witnesses  that  the  utmost  anxiety  and  sedulousness  of 
mortals  to  secure  places  of  undisturbed  repose  for  their  ashes, 
are  unavailing  ;  nay,  that  they  are  the  surest  means  of  defeating 
the  builders'  aims.  The  safest  sanctuary  of  the  dead,  if  any 
may  be  called  secure,  is  the  lone  and  forgotten  grave  of  a  poor 
Indian,  in  the  depth  of  some  pathless  forest. 

We  proceeded  to  the  Latomiae.  The  place  so  denominated 
is  the  hollow  or  bed  of  an  immense  quarry,  whence  the  stone  is 
supposed  to  have  been  taken  for  the  structures  of  Syracuse. 
The  first  impression  which  a  sight  of  it  produces,  is  like  that  of 
viewing  a  vast  pile  of  scattered  ruins.  An  eminence  of  considera- 
ble elevation  and  ample  circuit  has  been  hewn  down  by  the  exca- 
vations, but  leaving  on  most  of  the  sides  an  irregular  line  of  the 
native  rock,  to  serve  as  an  impregnable  wall  to  the  inclosure. 
In  the  area,  some  insulated  masses  are  seen  of  the  original 
quarry,  one  of  which  is  comparatively  lofty,  and  on  the  top  of 
it  a  tower  was  formerly  erected.  A  remnant  of  a  staircase  is 
still  visible  near  the  summit.  So  effectually  are  the  Latomiss 
guarded  by  the  lofty  natural  barricade  about  them,  that  in  the 
days  of  the  Syracusan  tyrants  they  were  used  for  a  prison.  The 
Athenian  army  which  surrendered  under  Nicias,  was  confined 


302  SYRACUSE. 

in  them,  and,  according  to  Diodorus,  the  sufferings  of  the  cap- 
tives were  so  severe  as  to  make  the  fate  of  their  brave  but  un- 
fortunate general,  who  was  barbarously  put  to  death,  seem 
merciful  by  contrast.  This  event  happened  four  hundred  and 
thirteen  years  before  the  Christian  era,  and  shows  the  great 
antiquity  of  the  Latomiag. 

The  famous  grotto,  called  the  Ear  of  Dionysius,  makes  a  part 
of  these  extraordinary  works ;  but  it  has  been  formed  in  an  angle 
separate  from  the  main  body,  and  is  altogether  unique  in  its 
plan,  and  style  of  construction.  It  is  a  deep,  gloomy  cavern, 
which  has  been  wrought  out  with  amazing  ingenuity  as  well  as 
labour  from  very  hard  rock.  The  entrance,  —  through  a  pre- 
cipice perfectly  steep,  —  resembles  the  doorway  to  some  old 
Cathedral.  The  face  of  the  rock  is  clothed  with  luxuriant 
natural  creepers,  which  would  give  the  opening  a  romantic  ap- 
pearance, if  there  was  not  something  in  the  looks  of  the  cavern- 
gloom  almost  awful.  We  explored  its  recesses  with  the  light 
of  tapers. 

The  ground  plan  is  sinuous,  not  unlike  the  letter  S.  The 
roof  is  vaulted,  approaching  the  style  which  architects  call  pointed, 
and  retaining  a  certain  Gothic  feature  like  the  form  of  the  en- 
trance. The  surface  of  the  walls  was  made  perfectly  smooth, 
and  has  undergone  no  change.  The  cavern  is  one  hundred  and 
ninety  feet  in  length,  measured  on  a  curve  line  equi-distant  from 
the  sides.  In  width  it  varies  from  iwentyfour  to  thirtysix  feet,  and 
in  height  from  sixty  to  seventy.  It  terminates  in  an  elliptical 
bend.  About  half  way  up  the  cavern  on  the  right,  there  is  an 
opening  to  a  smaller  grotto.  Its  area  is  about  one  tenth  of  the 
outer  one,  and  the  height  of  the  walls  thirty  feet.  The  com- 
munication is  by  a  passage  rather  broad,  but  it  might  be  barri- 
cadoed  ;  and  if  the  popular  notion  be  correct,  that  the  Ear  of 
Dionysius  was  built  by  the  tyrant  for  a  prison,  this  smaller 
apartment  might  have  served  as  the  inner  ward,  —  a  dungeon 
doubly  guarded. 

Extraordinary  as  is  the  height  of  the  main  cavern,  it  was 
originally  greater.     There  has  been  a  gradual  filling  up  of  the 


EAR  OF  DIONYSIUS.  303 

bottom  by  the  wash  of  earth,  leaves  and  pebbles  from  without,  but 
to  what  depth  is  not  ascertained.  Near  the  top  of  the  cavern,  on 
the  right  of  the  entrance,  is  a  small  chamber.  The  opening  is  in 
the  external  front  of  the  rock.  Whether  a  secret  passage  for- 
merly led  to  it  is  not  known,  but  at  present  it  is  inaccessible  unless 
by  ladders,  or  ropes  let  down  from  the  brink  of  the  precipice. 
Between  the  chamber  and  the  cavern  a  hole  was  formerly  bored, 
by  order,  it  is  said,  of  Dionysius,  who  according  to  the  legend, 
used  to  station  himself  in  the  little  apartment  for  the  purpose 
of  hearing  the  conversation  which  passed  among  his  prisoners. 
The  tympanum,  or  focus  of  sound,  was  just  opposite  the  cham- 
ber. I  observed  a  singular  groove  in  the  roof  of  the  rock 
running  from  that  point  the  entire  length  of  the  cavern.  It  is  cut 
with  great  regularity  and  smoothness.  Its  course  is  not  level, 
but  it  waves  or  undulates  along  the  roof,  preserving  at  the  same 
time  a  reference  in  its  line  of  direction  to  the  curving  sides  of  the 
grotto.  This  groove  is  supposed  to  have  been  contrived  as  a 
conductor  of  sound.  The  cavern  itself  is  constructed  on  a  plan 
generally  analogous  to  the  form  and  symmetry  of  the  human 
ear,  and  thence  has  been  derived  its  immemorial  appellation. 

Its  echo  is  astonishing.  The  faintest  whisper  may  be  heard 
in  any  part  of  it.  In  common  conversation  the  sound  of  the 
voice  comes  back  in  heavy  intonations.  We  tried,  in  several 
ways,  the  reverberative  power.  A  paper  was  gently  torn  by  one 
of  the  gentlemen  at  the  upper  extremity  of  the  cave,  and  not- 
withstanding the  extent  and  sinuosity  of  the  passage,  the  sound 
was  plainly  heard  by  the  others  standing  without  the  entrance. 
A  pistol  was  fired,  and  the  report  was  like  the  discharge  of  an 
eight-and-forty  pounder. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  the  cavern  was  specially  formed  for 
conducting  and  augmenting  sound  ;  but  whether  it  was  contrived 
to  enable  the  cruel  tyrant  who  has  the  merit  of  planning  it,  to 
hear  from  his  secret  apartment  the  conversation  of  his  prisoners, 
has  been  doubted.  It  is  alleged  in  disproof,  that  if  two  or  more 
voices  speak  at  the  same  time,  only  a  confused  clamour  is  pro- 
duced.    This,  which  is  true  below,  might  not  have  happened, 


304  SYRACUSE. 

—  at  least  so  sensibly  as  to  be  an  inconvenience,  —  to  an  ear 
placed  at  the  orifice  in  the  watch-chamber.  The  tyrant  may 
have  been  in  the  habit  of  only  imprisoning  a  very  few  subjects 
at  once,  and  those  of  whom  he  was  most  suspicious  ;  and  as 
they  would  not  be  likely  always  to  speak  at  the  same  time,  and 
any  two,  at  least,  would  naturally  converse  without  mutual  inter- 
ruption, enough  might  be  easily  gathered  by  the  royal  eave's- 
dropper  to  help  him  make  up  his  mind  respecting  his  prisoners' 
characters,  plans  or  dispositions.  Long  concurrent  tradition,  in 
the  absence  of  positive  testimony  of  a  contrary  nature,  should 
have  considerable  weight  in  determining  what  the  objects  of  the 
projector  of  the  cavern  really  were.  Those  who  deny  the 
vulgar  opinion,  admit  that  in  remote  times  the  cave  was  used  as 
a  prison  ;  but  they  assert  that  it  was  only  appropriated  as  a  re- 
ceptacle for  the  Cyllirii,  or  dregs  of  the  Sicilian  populace. 
Whatever  was  its  original  purpose,  it  is  certainly  one  of  the  most 
curious  wonders  extant  of  human  ingenuity  and  effort. 

Adjacent  to  the  Ear  of  Dionysius,  there  is  a  long  dark  range 
of  cellular  excavations,  at  the  foot  of  a  wild  precipice,  and  sur- 
rounded by  grotesque  columnar  rocks.  In  one  of  these  gloomy 
crypts,  I  found  a  family  living,  or  rather  buried  alive.  They 
were  employed  in  the  manufacture  of  salt-petre.  In  a  half-sub- 
terranean corridor,  hard  by,  a  company  of  twine-makers  were 
busily  at  work.  We  were  not  so  fortunate  as  Brydone,  in 
starting  a  poor  porcupine. 

The  Latomiae  abound  in  a  variety  of  the  most  romantic  and 
picturesque  scenes.  There  is  a  strange  heterogenous  look  in 
some  of  the  objects,  but  they  sort  well  enough  with  the  general 
assemblage  to  produce  a  mingled  pleasing,  and  majestic  effect. 
A  considerable  part  of  the  artificial  cliffs  is  of  the  extraordinary 
elevation  of  one  hundred  feet.  The  vast  space  which  they 
inclose  is  sheltered  from  almost  every  wind.  It  is  covered 
with  a  deep  bed  of  earth  of  surprising  richness  and  fertility ; 
and  one  of  the  divisions,  called  the  Paradiso,  is  characterised 
by  an  almost  unequalled  luxuriance  of  vegetation.  The  trees 
include  figs,  almonds,  bergamots,  olives,  pomegranates,  lemons, 


GREEK  THEATRE.  305 

and  oranges;  and  the  flowering  shrubs  are  numerous  and  beau- 
tiful. The  largest  part  of  the  Latomiae,  called  the  Palombino,  is 
owned  by  the  Capuchins.  They  have  a  garden,  celebrated  for 
romantic  beauty,  to  which  they  have  given  the  attractive  name 
of  Selva,  i.  e.  the  Grove.  As  it  was  two  or  three  miles  distant, 
and  there  were  nearer  objects  which  claimed  attention,  I  have 
deferred  my  visit  thither  to  another  day. 

On  the  other  side  of  the  hill,  back  of  the  Ear  of  Dionysius, 
are  the  remains  of  a  Greek  Theatre.  It  would  be  almost 
too  disparaging  to  call  them  ruins,  considering  the  remarkable 
preservation  of  a  great  part  of  the  structure.  There  are  five 
distinct  platforms  of  seats,  arranged  in  semicircular  order. 
Attached  to  these,  are  convenient  galleries  ingeniously  planned, 
and  above  the  whole,  there  are  two  apartments  which  are  sup- 
posed to  have  been  the  places  of  storage  for  the  tropaea  and 
moveable  decorations  of  the  theatre.  Tlie  theatre  being  con- 
structed on  the  sloping  side  of  the  hill,  the  seats  are  all  cut  from 
the  original  rock.  As  they  are  too  low  for  a  convenient  sitting 
posture,  it  is  not  improbable  that  their  upper  surfaces  were 
formerly  encrusted  with  marble  ;  or  they  may  have  been  raised 
by  cushions  to  the  proper  elevation.  All  along  the  front  of  one 
of  the  rows,  there  are  inscriptions,  on  every  compartment,  in 
large  Greek  characters.  They  were  so  well  chiselled,  that 
some  of  them  have  completely  resisted  the  tooth  of  time.  It  is 
presumed  that  they  designate  the  persons  to  whom  the  seats 
were  specially  appropriated.  Two  of  them  were  ladies  of 
princely  rank,  viz.  Basilissas  PhiHstidos  and  Basilissas  Nereide. 
From  the  circumstance  that  the  head  of  a  personage  bearing 
the  former  name  and  title,  has  been  found  on  various  coins 
which  represent  her  in  every  stage  of  life,  from  a  youthful  beauty 
to  a  matron  far  advanced  in  years,  Sicilian  antiquaries  are  of 
opinion,  that  she  was  a  queen,  who  reigned  to  a  very  great  age. 

The  theatre  is  capable  of  containing  from  twelve  to  fourteen 
thousand  spectators.     Its  position  is  most  eligible.     From  the 
seats,   and  particularly  the  upper  platform,  a  noble  view   is 
39 


306  SYRACUSE. 

obtained  of  the  sea,  harbour,  city  and  adjacent  country.  When 
Syracuse  was  in  its  glory,  the  prospect  must  have  been  inex- 
pressibly magnificent. 

Although  no  roof  was  originally  fitted  to  the  structure,  and 
the  Greeks  and  Romans  were  accustomed  to  build  their  theatres 
in  the  open  air,  we  are  not  to  suppose  that  there  was  no 
temporary  covering  put  up  during  the  times  of  their  plays  or 
spectacula.  There  are  evident  indications  that  awnings  were 
used  in  this  of  Syracuse  ;  and  such  is  the  excellence  of  the 
climate,  —  a  climate  so  fine  as  to  occasion  the  saying,  that 
there  is  no  day  in  the  year  in  which  the  sun  is  not  sometimes 
visible,  —  that  only  a  light  screen  was  ever  indispensable. 

It  is  not  owing  to  any  modern  attention,  that  the  Greek 
theatre  continues  in  so  perfect  a  state  of  preservation.  It 
appears  to  be  sadly  neglected,  and  even  abused.  A  building 
attached  to  a  water-mill  has  intruded  on  a  part  of  it ;  and  a 
considerable  stream,-  diverted  from  the  aqueduct  which  retains 
the  name  of  Dionysius,  after  turning  the  machinery,  is  thrown 
into  a  channel  whence  it  tumbles  in  a  cascade  through  the 
centre  of  the  theatre. 

Not  far  from  the  theatre  there  is  another  very  interesting  an- 
tiquity, the  Roman  Amphitheatre,  and  to  this  I  was  next  con- 
ducted. They  are  both  monuments  of  the  tastes  and  genius  of 
two  distinct  people,  —  the  one,  of  the  polished  and  civilized 
founders,  the  other,  of  the  brave  but  rude  conquerors  of  Syra- 
cuse. The  first  was  the  scene  of  action  of  the  regular  and  le- 
gitimate drama;  the  second  was  designed  for  the  show  of  brutal 
and  sanguinary  sports.  In  the  theatre,  the  thrilling  tragedies  of 
Sophocles  and  Euripides,  the  laughter-moving  farces  and  pun- 
gent satires  of  Aristophanes,  and  the  graceful  and  elegant  come- 
dies of  Epicharmus  and  Menander  were  intended  to  be  played 
and  exhibited.  In  the  amphitheatre,  gladiatorial  combats, — 
fights  of  men  with  men,  of  men  with  beasts,  and  beasts,  the 
fiercest,  one  with  another,  —  were  waged  for  the  barbarous 
gratification  of  the  half  civilized  Roman.     I  call  him  half  civil- 


ROMAN  TASTES— AMPHITHEATRE.  307 

ized,  for  if  the  character  of  a  people  should  be  determined  by 
its  favourite  games,  as  to  a  certain  extent,  it  doubtless  may  be, 
the  majority  of  the  old  Romans  were  entitled  to  no  better  epithet. 
Let  any  one  read,  in  the  supplement  to  Martial's  Epigrams,  the 
Fragments  entitled  '  De  Spectaculis,'  and  he  will  learn  from 
an  eyewitness,  that  the  same  ferocious  amusements  which  were 
cultivated  in  the  untutored  times  of  the  Commonwealth,  were 
sought  with  avidity  by  the  people  in  the  best  days  of  the  Empire. 
In  addition  to  the  feats  of  common  gladiators,  and  the  terrific 
combats  of  tigers  with  lions.  Martial  has  celebrated  the  battles  of 
bulls  and  blood-hounds,  bears  and  boars,  even  of  the  elephant 
and  the  rhinoceros,  performed  on  the  arena  of  the  Coliseum  for 
the  entertainment,  alike,  of  the  imperial  court  and  the  Roman 
populace.  Nay,  more,  he  describes  with  exultation  an  exploit 
which  passed  under  the  eye  of  Trajan,  in  which  a  woman 
was  champion  and  matched  against  a  lion  !  We  can  hardly 
credit  him  when  he  adds,  that  the  woman  was  declared  victor. 
But  that  such  a  combat  there  was,  however  it  issued,  is  in- 
disputable. And  the  anecdote  proves,  that  along  with  a  taste 
for  the  fine  arts,  and  a  certain  polish  in  the  manners  of  the 
citizens,  luxury,  so  far  from  softening  and  taming,  had  only 
made  more  savage  the  Roman  heart,  and  that  under  the  sway 
of  a  prince  proverbially  mild,  the  human  species. had  exchanged 
its  nature  for  that  of  brutes.  ^^ 

But  I  must  not  forget  in  my  reflections  the  task  of  description. 
I  found  the  amphitheatre,  in  some  respects,  in  a  state  of  su- 
perior preservation  to  that  of  the  theatre.  It  is  made  in  the 
form  of  an  extended  oval.  The  seats,  of  which  there  are  four 
banks,  are  considerably  worn  and  defaced ;  but  the  stairs,  cor- 
ridors and  vomitories,  the  dens  for  beasts,  and  cells  for  gladiators, 
are  generally  so  perfect  that  few  repairs  would  be  requisite  to 
refit  the  whole.  The  amphitheatre  was  partly  scooped,  like  the 
theatre,  from  a  natural  quarry.  Considering  the  nature  of  the 
rock,  a  hard  calcareous  sort,  it  must  have  been  an  exceedingly 
difficult  work,  and  its  accomplishment  for  the  mere  purpose  of 


308  SYRACUSE. 

subserving  a  popular  amusement,  is  not  among  the  least  wonders 
which  a  stranger  contemplates  in  this  interesting  neighbourhood. 
The  main  access  to  the  amphitheatre  was  by  a  vaulted  passage 
leading  under  ground  from  a  plateau  of  the  hill  above.  It  com- 
municates with  a  corridor,  chiefly  excavated  from  rock,  which 
surrounds  the  whole.  The  corridor  is  of  convenient  width,  and 
about  seven  feet  high.  It  answers  exactly  to  the  gallery,  or  cir- 
cular passage,  in  modern  theatres  into  which  the  doors  of  the 
boxes  open.  From  the  corridor,  flights  of  steps  were  con- 
structed at  proper  distances,  which  led  to  the  different  ranges 
and  divisions  of  seats.  Several  of  these  stairways  are  scarcely 
dilapidated  in  the  least ;  the  doors  only  are  gone.  At  opposite 
sides  of  the  arena,  the  avenues  are  seen  whence  the  combatants, 
man  and  beast,  issued  to  battle.  There  is  a  cistern,  and  near  it 
a  pit,  (the  Spoliarium,)  which  was  used  as  a  receptacle  for 
the  blood  and  ordure  that  might  mingle  with  the  sands.  The 
darkness  of  some  of  the  dens  was  almost  fearful.  It  seemed 
as  though  the  glare  of  a  lion's  eyeballs  might  still  illumine  the 
horrid  gloom,  or  his  growl  be  heard  muttering  vengeance  on  the 
unbidden  intruder.  But  the  lion  has  resigned  his  den,  and 
the  other  shaggy  monsters  of  the  wood  their  several  prisons,  to 
a  swarm  of  harmless  lizards.  These  curious  little  creatures, 
distinguished  by  their  bright  and  varied  hues,  inhabit,  and  are 
found  creeping  in,  every  nook  and  corner  of  the  ruins.  The 
arena  which  formerly  was  stained  with  human  gore,  when  the 
fated  victims  '  fought  with  beasts  after  the  manner  of  men  at 
Ephesus,'  is  now  applied  to  the  purposes  of  husbandry,  and 
peacefully  waves  with  a  crop  of  flax.  And  the  corridor,  along 
which  the  multitudes  have  rushed  with  thundering  tread  in  their 
eagerness  to  fill  the  seats  of  the  mighty  amphitheatre,  is  at  pre- 
sent made  use  of  by  a  neighbouring  herdsman  as  a  place  of 
shelter  for  his  flocks  during  inclemencies  of  the  weather.  The 
change  is  a  useful  one,  though  not  quite  so  honourable  as  the 
builders  of  the  structure,  if  they  were  to  rise  from  the  dead, 
might  claim  in  compliment  to  their  memories. 


RETURN.  30^ 

On  our  way  back  to  the  city,  we  made  a  circuit  to  visit 
some  other  remains  ;  but  as  I  have  crowded  pretty  ample  details 
into  the  description  of  one  day,  I  shall  defer  the  residue  to  unite 
them  with  the  account  of  objects  which  may  offer  themselves 
for  attention  hereafter. 


CHAPTER    XI. 


SYRACUSE. 

Antiquity  of  the  City.  —  Wastes  of  Mortality.  —  Descent  to  the  Catacombs.  — 
Early  Usages  in  the  Disposal  of  the  Dead.  —  Remarkable  Tomb.  — Vespers.  — 
Convent  and  Gardens  of  the  Capuchins.  —  Grave  of  a  Duellist.  —  Evening  on 
the  Sea-shore.  —  Fatal  Marshes.  —  Temple  of  Jupiter  Olympius.  —  Encamp- 
ment of  Himilco.  —  Conquests  by  'I'lmoleon  and  Marcellus.  —  Ancient 
Opulence  of  Syracuse.  —  Death  of  Archimedes.  —  River  Anapus.  —  Fountain 
of'Cyane.  — Rape  of  Proserpine  — Papyrus.  —  Second  Visit  to  the  Ear  of 
Dionysius  5  a  Theory.  — American  Cemetery.  —  Sicilian  Habitations. — 
Titles.  —  Political  Signs  5  A  Contrast  —  Stagnation  of  Trade.  — Citizens. 

Cathedral  Square  ;  March  11.  —  If  a  person  loves  mel- 
ancholy let  him  come  to  Syracuse.  He  will  here  find  food 
enough  to  gratify  his  taste.  If  he  have  a  passion  for  moral- 
izing, he  will  be  at  no  loss  for  matter.  Every  ruin  has  a 
'  tongue  ; '  there  are  '  sermons  in  stones ;  '  and  lessons  may  be 
read  from  a  multitude  of  objects. 

I  feel  as  though  living  among  the  dead.  Syracuse,  —  I 
speak  of  the  territory  once  covered  with  the  city  of  that  name,  — 
Syracuse  may  in  fact  be  considered  a  vast  cemetery  ;  and  in 
exploring  its  remains,  I  am  reminded  at  every  step  of  treading 
upon  the  dust  of  seventy  generations. 

Nor  is  this  an  illusion.  Syracuse  in  the  times  of  its  greatest 
prosperity  embraced  an  area  of  twenty  miles'  circuit,  and  boasted 
a  population  variously  estimated  at  from  six  hundred  thousand 
to  a  million  and  more  of  souls.  Even  after  its  subjugation  by 
the  Romans,  —  an  event  which  happened  five  hundred  years 
subsequently  to  its  foundation,  —  it  continued  an  important  city, 


WASTES  OF  MORTALITY  —  CATACOMBS.  311 

and  its  decline  in  numbers  was  comparatively  slow.  The  imagina- 
tion would  vainly  weary  itself,  therefore,  in  attempting  to  count 
up  the  myriads  of  human  beings  who  have  lived  and  died  on  this 
memorable  spot. 

"  An  estimate  solely  of  the  native  inhabitants  of  Syracuse 
would  by  no  means  comprehend  all  of  the  mighty  host  whose 
dust,  in  the  lapse  of  centuries,  has  here  mingled  with  its 
parent  earth.  Armies,  great  in  numbers,  —  Carthaginian, 
Greek  and  Roman,  —  which  have  encamped  against  it,  have 
perished  not  merely  by  the  sword  of  war,  but  the  fatal  diseases 
generated  from  the  marshes  of  the  river  Anpaus.  The  legions 
ofMarcellus,  while  beleaguring  the  city,  were  frightfully  thinned 
by  the  insidious  pestilence.  The  ravages  which  it  committed 
among  the  armies  of  Carthage  were  still  more  terrible.  The 
numerous  forces  of  the  valiant  Himilco,  smitten  with  its  poison- 
ous breath,  melted  away  like  snow  in  summer ;  and  one  hun- 
dred and  fifty  thousand  unburied  bodies,  which  they  left  on  the 
fatal  plains  near  the  gates  of  Syracuse,  were  victims  to  that  one 
tremendous  scourge. 

Having  secured  a  portion  of  the  day  to  myself,  the  remainder 
I  devoted  to  a  further  inspection  of  the  venerable  objects  in  the 
environs.  The  Catacombs  claimed  a  visit,  and  thither  I  went  in 
company  with  an  intelligent  friend.  They  are  substantially 
like  those  of  Citta  Vecchia,  which  I  have  described  in  a  former 
part  of  the  Journal.  They  are  immense  subterranean  excava- 
tions from  rock,  originally  hewn  out,  it  has  been  supposed,  for 
the  purpose  of  furnishing  stones  for  building  ;  but  a  more  special 
object  must  have  been  had  in  view  in  determining  their  compli- 
cated plan  and  vast  extension.  If  the  supply  of  stone  was  all 
that  was  aimed  at,  the  simple  method  adopted  in  the  Latomiae 
would  have  been  far  preferable,  and  the  rocks  around  might 
have  continued  to  yield  inexhaustible  materials.  It  is  most  mani- 
fest that  they  were  very  early  intended,  —  though  the  object  in 
the  outset  may  have  been  but  secondary,  —  to  be  used  when 
completed   as   places  of  sepulture  for  the  dead.     Certain  it  is 


312  SYRACUSE. 

that  a  multitude  almost  incredible,  both  of  pagans  and  Christians, 
have  been  buried  in  them. 

The  descent  to  the  catacombs  is  under  the  small  Gothic 
church  of  St  John.  It  forms  a  proper  vestibule.  The  living 
are  thus  reminded,  on  their  entrance  and  exit,  of  the  duties  of 
religion,  and  taught  that  the  lessons  of  mortality,  learned  below, 
should  be  improved  to  fit  their  souls  at  death  for  a  passage 
through  the  fatal  valley. 

A  few  steps  brought  us  to  the  entrance  of  this  Necropolis.  Its 
mazes  I  found  quite  as  intricate  as  those  in  the  Catacombs  of 
Malta,  and  it  was  necessary  to  tread  with  caution  in  the  foot- 
steps of  the  guide.  The  avenues  are  narrow,  but  generally  of 
sufficient  height  to  allow  a  person  to  walk  erect.  Some 
of  them  are  known  to  extend  a  mile  ;  and  as  they  pro- 
ceed, they  connect  themselves  with  others  which  branch  on 
either  side,  or  cross  them  from  every  point  in  the  compass.  At 
many  places  of  intersection,  chambers  have  been  made,  answer- 
ing to  little  squares  in  a  city.  The  whole  forms  a  boundless 
charnel-house,  where  death  sits  enthroned  and  sways  the  sceptre 
of  his  inexorable  dominion. 

The  tombs  occur  at  short  intervals  and  line  all  the  passages. 
Few  of  them  are  single  ;  in  many  I  counted  twelve,  and  in  some, 
twenty  receptacles  of  human  bodies.  They  are  arranged,  side 
by  side,  in  cavities  carved  with  great  regularity  from  a  common 
bed  of  rock.  The  largest  tombs  are  from  ten  to  twelve  yards 
deep. 

The  sepulchres  of  Christians  were  plainly  distinguishable 
either  by  the  monogram,  interpreted  '  pro  Christo,'  or  the  rude 
emblem  of  a  cross,  a  dove,  or  a  palm-branch.  Sometimes  a 
little  coloured  phial  is  found,  which  is  supposed  to  have  held  the 
blood  and  to  indicate  the  grave  of  a  martyr. 

It  is  interesting  to  reflect  that  in  these  dark  retreats  where  so 
many  primitive  believers  now  sleep  in  peace,  they  were  glad, 
while  living,  to  find  a  shelter  from  the  storms  of  persecution,  and 
to  practise  their   rites  of  worship  without  fear  of  molestation. 


DISPOSAL  OF  THE  DEAD.  313 

That  Christianity  was  introduced  into  Syracuse  as  early,  at 
least,  as  A.  D.  61,  we  know  from  the  circumstance  that  Paul's 
visit  happened  at  that  time,  viz.  while  on  his  voyage  from 
Melita  to  Rome ;  and  he  would  hardly  have  neglected  so  fair 
an  opportunity  to  make  known  the  principles  of  that  faith,  which 
everywhere  else  he  had  preached  with  unquenchable  ardour. 
Four  years  afterwards,  the  first  general  persecution  of  the  Chris- 
tians began,  during  which  their  blood  flowed  like  water,  and  of 
those  who^  escaped,  many  owed  their  safety  to  the  asylums 
offered  *  in  dens  and  caves  of  the  earth.' 

Athough  the  Catacombs  were  anciently  used  by  both  Pagans 
and  Christians  for  the  interment  of  their  dead,  it  was  probably  in 
times  remote  from  one  another.  The  laying  up  of  bodies  in 
caves,  was  the  original  method  of  disposing  of  the  dead.  It  was 
practised  by  the  Hebrews.  It  was  in  vogue  in  Egypt ;  and  from 
the  Phoenicians  it  seems  to  have  been  propagated  throughout 
the  countries  which  they  colonized.  The  want  of  natural  caves 
would  soon  suggest  the  plan  of  artificial  ones ;  and  as  stone 
must  be  used  in  the  construction  of  cities,  it  was  quarried  in  a 
way  to  secure  a  double  object,  —  habitations  above  ground  for 
the  living,  and  places  of  rest  for  the  dead.  Catacombs,  where 
made,  were  accordingly  used  as  common  sepulchres  among  the 
Greeks  and  Romans,  of  all  classes,  till  the  practice  of  burning  was 
introduced.  Then  catacombs  were  disused ;  for  all  who  could 
possibly  afford  the  expense  of  a  funeral  pyre  in  honour  of  their 
deceased  friends,  preferred  to  adopt  it.  Their  ashes  were 
gathered  up  with  care  and  placed  in  urns,  and  crypts,  for  the 
burial  of  bodies,  were  no  longer  required.  As  Syracuse  was 
founded  by  a  colony  of  Corinthians,  and  subjected  by  the 
Romans,  —  the  latter  event  happening  two  hundred  and  tweke 
years  before  the  Christian  Era,  —  this  general  change  of  custom 
must  have  operated  here  before  the  gospel  was  introduced. 
The  Christians,  however,  revived  the  practice  of  burial.  They 
had  an  abhorrence  of  burning  which  they  considered  supersti- 
tious, and  deemed  the  law  of  nature  to  be  the  law  of  religion, 
that  dust  should  return  to  earth  as  it  was.  The  catacombs 
40 


314  SYRACUSE. 

offered  a  vast  assemblage  of  sepulchres  ready  formed,  and  thither 
their  dead  were  conveyed.  ^^ 

The  absurd  notion  that  the  human  race  was  originally  of 
uncommon  stature,  and  that  it  has  been  gradually  reduced,  is 
abundantly  disproved  by  the  structure  of  the  largest  cells  for 
bodies  in  the  catacombs.  Some  of  them  must  have  been 
excavated  twentyfive  hundred  years  ago,  and  yet  none  are  of  a 
size  exceeding  the  present  standard  of  the  human  frame.  The 
remark  has  not  escaped  other  visiters;  and  it  is  suggested  by  the 
circumstance,  that  in  this  very  neighbourhood,  namely,  at  Capo 
Santa  Croce,  it  has  been  pretended  by  Fazzello  and  other  Sicil- 
ians, that  the  skeletons  of  giants  have  been  found. 

Not  far  from  the  Catacombs,  but  in  a  place  apart  by  itself,  a 
very  curious  tomb  has  been  lately  discovered.  We  stopped  to 
examine  it  during  the  excursion  yesterday.  It  is  close  by  the 
public  road  and  on  the  brink  of  a  little  ravine.  It  was  brought 
to  light  by  some  workmen,  employed  in  digging  earth  and  stones 
for  the  repairs  of  a  bridge  near  by.  Strange  as  it  may  be  thought, 
it  is  a  beautiful  litde  apartment.  The  walls  of  the  tomb  are 
painted  with  ingenious  Arabesques,  the  colours  of  which  retain 
a  remarkable  freshness.  These  are  laid  upon  very  smooth 
stucco.  The  floor  is  tessolated  with  compositions  of  terra 
cotta.  The  roof  is  arched,  and  altogether  the  apartment  resem- 
bles much  more  a  lady's  boudoir,  or  the  chamber  attached  to 
some  ancient  bagnio,  than  a  mansion  of  the  dead.  Among  the 
emblems  on  the  walls  are  flowers,  girdles  of  money,  a  hawk, 
and  a  peacock.  When  discovered,  there  was  only  one  sarco- 
phagus in  the  tomb.  It  contained  some  bones,  which  on  being 
touched,  and  exposed  to  the  air,  immediately  crumbled.  From 
the  devices  on  the  walls,  it  is  inferred  that  they  were  the  relics  of 
a  rich  votary,  or  priest,  of  Juno.  A  distinguished  antiquary  of 
this  city  informs  me,  that  he  has  transmitted  to  the  king,  by 
special  command,  an  account  of  the  discovery  with  a  minute 
description  of  the  ornaments  of  the  tomb. 

An  hour  before  sunset,  I  mounted  a  horse  to  proceed  to  the 
convent   of  the  Capuchins.     I  hoped   to  have   reached  it  by 


VESPERS.  315 

vespers,  but  was  disappointed  by  a  circumstance  which  I  had 
no  reason  to  regret.  Pursuing  my  ride  leisurely,  contemplating 
the  tranquil  scenery  of  the  sea  and  shore,  and  yielding  to  a 
feeling  of  melancholy,  not  unwelcome,  inspired  by  the  objects 
around,  I  approached  the  little  convent  Maria  di  Gesu,  situated 
in  a  sequestered  spot,  and  shaded  by  a  few  old  trees.  The 
chapel  doors  were  open,  and  I  was  passing  when  the  first  notes 
of  the  organ  were  struck,  which  told  that  the  vesper  service  was 
there  begun.  There  was  something  so  sweetly  solemn  in  the 
sounds,  that  I  involuntarily  stopped  to  listen.  They  continued, 
and  I  could  not  resist  the  impulse  to  dismount  and  enter. 

The  organ  was  accompanied  with  voices  of  touching  melody. 
There  was  no  effort  for  the  display  of  power.  It  was  rather  a 
subdued  and  soothing  strain,  simple  and  almost  sad,  more  like 
a  requiem  than  a  chant  or  chorus.  The  instrument  and  choir 
were  screened,  and  at  times  when  their  tones  fell  upon  the  ear 
with  more  than  common  softness,  they  seemed  to  proceed  from 
a  superior  region  —  to  come,  as  though  mellowed  by  distance,  — 
for  the  music  had  less  of  earth  in  it  than  heaven. 

A  priest  of  reverend  aspect  and  in  befitting  robes,  officiated 
at  the  altar.  The  company  of  worshippers  was  small,  and  con- 
sisted of  the  holy  brotherhood.  The  monks  were  all  kneeling, 
with  their  faces  turned  to  the  altar,  their  cowls  thrown  back, 
and  their  eyes  fixed  upon  the  pavement.  They  were  motionless 
like  statues,  but  in  their  looks  there  was  an  air  of  pensive  ab- 
straction. The  decorations  of  the  chapel  were  chaste  and 
appropriate.  There  was  nothing  ambitious,  nothing  studiedly 
ornate.  The  pictures  were  expressive  ;  and  well  designed  to 
heighten  the  eloquence  of  the  place  and  worship.  One  of 
them  represented  the  crucifixion.  Another,  and  the  most  striking, 
was  a  painting  of  the  martyrdom  of  three  primitive  disciples, 
affectingly  depicting  their  meek  and  submissive,  yet  triumphant 
looks,  —  their  eyes,  beaming  with  faith  and  hope,  lifted  to 
heaven ;  while  in  the  clouds  above,  the  Virgin  was  exhibited 
with  a  face  of  seraphic  loveliness,  bending  upon  them  a  smile 
of  divine  encouragement,  holding  a  cross  in  one  hand,  and  bearing 


316  SYRACUSE. 

in  the  other  '  the  vial  full  of  odours,'  emblematic  of  '  the  prayers 
of  the  saints.'  High  above  the  altar,  the  figure  of  the  mystic 
Dove  was  sculptured,  and  beneath  it  the  motto  in  large  characters 
was  written,  —  '  gloriosus  in  domo  tua.'  ^^ 

I  was  already  deeply  impressed  with  the  scene  and  its  solemn 
unisons,  when  looking  up,  my  eye  first  caught  that  inscription. 
Nothing  ever  spoke  more  powerfully  to  my  feelings.  My  heart 
responded  to  the  sentiment  which  it  breathed,  and  I  felt  that  in 
that  worship  there  was  indeed  the  beauty  of  holiness.  I  re- 
mained till  the  last  note  of  the  music  was  hushed,  till  the  service 
was  done,  and  the  fathers  prepared  to  separate.  I  had  been 
riveted  to  the  spot,  and  when  at  length  I  was  obliged  to  leave  it 
and  turn  from  the  threshold,  it  was  with  feelings  of  deep  regret 
that  the  solemnity  so  soon  had  closed.  But  that  scene,  that 
hour,  can  never  be  obliterated  from  my  mind.  While  I  write, 
the  music  still  vibrates  in  my  memory.  May  it  continue  to 
vibrate,  and  its  tones  never  die  ! 

The  sun  had  set  when  I  reached  the  convent  of  the  Capu- 
chins. It  is  a  solid  old  fabric  of  singular  form,  built  on  an  airy 
and  commanding  situation  near  the  sea,  having  much  the  ap- 
pearance of  a  castle,  and  but  little  of  a  monastery.  It  is  moated, 
and  to  enter  it,  it  was  necessary  to  pass  a  gate  and  a  drawbridge. 
These  precautions  of  defence  have  been  needful  to  guard  the 
monks  against  descents  of  Barbary  corsairs.  The  convent  is  built 
one  story  deeper,  (or  higher,  as  the  expression  may  suit,)  than 
it  appears  on  approaching  it.  The  basement  is  then  hid,  but 
on  crossing  the  bridge  it  is  brought  into  view  with  the  accompa- 
niments, not  over  and  above  agreeable,  of  human  skulls  and 
bones  ranged  against  the  grated  windows.  They  belonged  to 
the  predecessors  of  the  present  inmates  of  the  house,  a  part  of 
the  basement  story  being  the  place  of  their  tombs.  I  was  glad 
to  turn  from  this  sight  to  the  more  refreshing  spectacle  of  a 
fountain  and  some  orange  trees,  which  ornament  a  plat  in  the 
court. 

At  the  door  of  the  convent,  I  was  hospitably  greeted.  A 
monk  attended  me  to  the  refectory,  and  pressed  upon  me  the 


CAPUCHINS  —  SELVA.  317 

refreshments  of  wine,  olives  and  bread.  While  this  was  passing, 
two  or  three  others  of  the  society  made  their  appearance.  They 
took  me,  at  first,  to  be  a  European,  and  being  not  devoid  of  curi- 
osity begged  to  know  of  what  part  of  the  Old  world  I  was  a  native  ? 
When  I  told  them  that  I  belonged  to  another  world,  namely  the 
New,  the  intelligence  seemed  to  surprise  them  about  as  much 
as  if  I  had  said  that  I  came  from  another  planet.  They  asked 
how  far  it  was  to  America  and  that  part  of  it,  the  place  of  my 
birth  ?  On  my  replying  that  it  was  some  four  thousand  miles 
off,  and  intimating  that  I  had  travelled  all  that  distance  to  pay 
them  my  respects,  — '  Gesu  Maria,  Che  maraviglia  !'  they 
exclaimed,  '  chi  avrebbe  pensato  !'  (How  astonishing  !  Who 
would  have  thought  it !')  crossing  themselves  at  the  same  time, 
and  repeating  a  friendly  '  Ben  venuto ;'  (Welcome.)  Of  course, 
they  were  not  slack  in  plying  me  with  other  questions,  and  con- 
tinuing to  gaze  on  their  guest  with  a  civil  wonder,  something  as 
Columbus  may  have  regarded  the  natives  of  St  Salvador.  But 
as  I  did  not  visit  them  for  this  purpose,  I  soon  intimated  a 
wish  to  employ  the  twilight  by  a  walk  in  the  romantic  gardens 
attached  to  their  convent.  Immediattely  a  trio  of  the  cowled 
fraternity  undertook  to  attend  me,  and  to  point  out  what  was 
chiefly  interesting. 

The  environs  of  the  convent  are  truly  charming.  In  point  of 
sylvan  beauty  nothing  can  exceed  them.  The  grounds  have 
been  laid  out  with  no  great  order,  but  they  are  doubly  pleasing 
from  their  very  irregularity,  and  a  certain  cast  of  wildness  in  the 
scenes.  The  walks  are  planted  with  cypresses  of  tall,  tapering 
forms.  The  choicest  fruit  trees,  and  a  variety  of  ornamental 
shrubs  are  dispersed  within  the  precincts,  but  the  most  appear 
to  have  rooted  themselves  accidentally.  The  soil  is  a  fine,  rich 
marl,  and  nature,  profuse  in  life  and  multiform  in  loveliness,  has 
exerted  her  powers  in  turning  it  to  the  best  account.  In  some 
places,  she  has  disported  her  creative  efforts,  and  wrought  with- 
out the  apparent  aid  of  earth,  as  though  her  object  was  to  show 
the  wonders  of  her  skill  in  the  merest  caprices.  The  rocks  are 
covered  with  luxuriant  creepers,  and  garnished  with  myrtles, 


318  SYRACUSE. 

coronillas  and  prickly  opuntias.  In  the  crevices  of  the  beetling 
cliffs,  the  arbutus,  sumach  and  broom,  —  even  the  cypress  and 
evergreen  oak  —  have  found  a  footing,  and  they  contrive  to  grow 
and  thrive  by  means  most  marvellous. 

In  a  part  of  the  Selva,  I  was  taken  to  an  extraordinary  set  of 
excavations,  not  unlike  the  Ear  and  its  adjoining  caves  of  Dio- 
nysius.  The  largest  cavern  is  very  extensive,  and  in  its  general 
plan  is  so  analogous  to  tbe  principal  grotto  of  the  Paradiso  that 
it  seems  to  have  been  either  the  copy  or  the  prototype.  The 
monks  who  attended  me  maintained  that  it  was  the  latter,  and 
they  probably  spoke,  or  echoed,  the  opinion  of  men  much 
wiser  than  themselves.  They  affirmed  that  their  cave  was 
originally  begun  by  the  tyrant  for  the  purpose,  whatever  it  was, 
which  he  followed  up  in  the  famous  excavation  called  the  Ear, 
in  the  other  division  of  the  Latomiae,  and  that  he  abandoned 
this  first  undertaking  on  account  of  the  looser  nature  of  the 
rock  or  from  some  other  cause,  which  made  it  unfit  for  the 
object  in  view.  I  had  never  heard  of  the  Capuchin  grotto 
before,  and  the  theory  was  therefore  new  to  me.  But,  I  confess, 
there  were  some  circumstances  which  made  the  account  plau- 
sible. The  grotto,  though  very  spacious  and  lofty,  is  manifestly 
unfinished.  The  rock  from  which  it  is  excavated  is  friable,  and 
the  deeper  it  was  worked  the  more  crumbling  it  appeared. 
The  opening  was  first  made  in  the  face  of  a  precipice,  and  in 
prosecuting  the  enterprise  the  same  skill  was  exercised,  evidently, 
as  in  the  more  successful  construction  of  the  Ear  of  Dionysius. 

I  have  mentioned  that  in  the  latter  of  these  remarkable  exca- 
vations I  found  a  side  recess  on  the  right,  similar  to  a  prisoner's 
cell,  or  inner  dungeon.  In  the  Capuchin  cavern,  there  are 
three  or  four  such  recesses,  and  the  discovery  of  them  strength- 
ens the  opinion,  which  I  have  intim.ated,  that  the  celebrated  Ear 
was  in  reality  designed  to  be  a  place  of  incarceration,  and  that 
the  tradition  of  its  original  purpose  is  substantially  correct.  But 
I  may  say  more  on  this  subject  when  I  shall  have  inquired 
further,  and  learned  the  impressions  entertained  by  Syracusan 
antiquaries. 


GRAVE  OF  A  DUELLIST.  319 

In  the  course  of  the  search,  or  rather  ramble,  my  little  escort 
had  been  angmented.  It  had  buzzed  through  the  convent  that 
an  American  visiter  had  arrived,  and  some  of  the  elder  monks 
bethought  themselves  of  an  object  which  they  felt  sure  must 
interest  me,  and  which  had  probably  escaped  the  memory,  if  it 
was  within  the  knowledge,  of  the  others.  This  was  nothing  else 
than  the  grave  of  a  fellow-countryman.  Strange  it  was  to  hear 
of  one  in  such  a  spot,  but  no  more  strange  than  true.  It  was 
dusk  when  I  was  apprized  of  it.  Objects  were  becoming  indis- 
tinct, although  the  moon,  now^  near  its  full,  was  beginning  to 
throw  its  pale  light  over  the  landscape.  But  it  only  dark- 
ened the  shadows  cast  by  the  deep  groves,  especially  those  of  the 
old  stately  cypresses.  The  grave  was  at  some  distance.  It  was 
that  of  a  young  midshipman  who  had  fallen  in  a  duel  many 
years  ago,  when  one  of  our  frigates  was  anchored  in  the  har- 
bour of  Syracuse ;  and  as  he  had  perished  in  no  better  cause, 
I  felt  not  much  inclined  to  deviate,  at  so  late  an  hour,  to  the 
place  of  his  burial. 

The  monks,  supposing  my  reluctance  to  arise  from  unwil- 
lingness to  give  them  trouble,  insisted  on  going  with  me  to  the 
spot.  One  of  them  had  provided  himself  with  a  flint,  steel  and 
matches ;  and  to  the  grave  we  therefore  went.  It  was  .within  a  se- 
cluded nook,  in  a  large  cave  scooped  out  from  the  base  of  a  cliff 
in  some  remote  period,  the  entrance  of  which  would  be  sufficiently 
gloomy  by  day,  but  at  this  hour  it  was  startling.  The  precipice 
w^as  clothed  with  wild  vines,  which  hung  low  and  united  with  the 
tangled  underwood  beneath.  The  trees  which  were  grouped 
around,  waved  mournfully  to  the  breeze ;  and  on  the  whole,  I 
w^as  glad  that  I  knew  my  companions,  as  otherwise  meeting 
them  in  such  a  place  and  hour,  ignorant  of  their  character,  I 
should  have  taken  them  for  banditti,  and  believed  that  nook  to 
be  their  haunt. 

Some  dry  sticks  were  collected,  a  spark  was  struck,  and  with 
the  help  of  our  matches,  a  fire  was  made.  The  monks  then 
lighted  a  couple  of  pine  torches,  and  we  proceeded  to  explore 
the  cave.     We  had  scarcely  entered,  when  an  owl,  disturbed  by 


320  SYRACUSE. 

the  glare  of  the  torches,  flitted  out  and  perching  on  a  neigh- 
bouring crag,  commenced  her  moan.  This  roused  some  others, 
and  their  cries  continued  at  intervals,  till  we  left  the  spot.  On 
the  wall  of  the  cavern,  rudely  cut,  was  the  name  of  the  unhappy 
youth,  whose  bones  were  mouldering  in  the  lone  grave  beneath,  — 
one  who  had  fallen  a  sacrifice  to  that  preposterous,  nay  atro- 
cious practice,  which  to  the  disgrace  of  civilized  man,  is  still 
tolerated  in  enlightened  and  christian  communities,  —  and  who, 
had  he  not  perished  by  the  hand  of  a  brother,  might  have  been 
spared  to  be  an  honour  to  his  profession,  and  a  gallant  defender 
of  his  country's  flag.  There  was  nothing  annexed  to  the  name 
but  the  bare  date  '  Sept.  18, 1804.'  Some  weeds  had  grown  over 
this  part  of  the  inscription.  One  of  the  monks  stooped  to  pluck 
them  away.  He  was  an  elderly  man,  whose  benevolent  looks 
would  prepossess  at  first  sight.  His  long  beard,  slightly  grizzled, 
hung  upon  his  breast.  As  he  stooped,  the  crucifix,  appended  to 
his  rosary,  dropped  on  the  earth.  Another  monk  held  down 
his  torch  at  the  moment,  that  I  might  read  the  characters  on  the 
stone,  more  easily.  The  scene  just  then  was  very  striking  ;  — 
the  figure  and  attitude  of  the  elder,  —  his  benevolent  office,  — ^ 
the  crucifix,  sign  of  the  Redeemer's  mercy,  resting  upon 
such  a  spot,  —  the  grave  and  tablet,  —  the  faces  of  the  sur- 
rounding group  half  seen,  half  shaded  by  their  deep  cowls,  — 
the  blaze  of  torches  flashing  against  the  walls  of  that  gloomy 
cave,  —  the  whole  a  painter  might  vividly  portray,  but  my  pen 
is  unable  duly  to  describe  it. 

My  feelings  were  solemn  when  I  descended  to  the  Catacombs, 
and  when  I  walked  the  Street  of  the  Sepulchres ;  but  my  soul 
was  painfully  saddened,  it  was  chilled,  when  I  stood  by  the 
duellist's  grave,  —  this  tomb  of  a  countryman. 

Returning  to  the  convent,  I  took  leave  of  my  kind-hearted 
hosts,  after  reciprocating  best  wishes,  and  depositing  a  more 
substantial  acknowledgment  of  their  civilities.  The  Capuchins 
are  the  sworn  enemies  of  mammon,  but  they  never  break 
friendship  with  those  who,  notwithstanding  their  vows,  presume 
to  leave  a  piece  of  money  on  their  table.  —  I  respect  them  for 


EVENING  ON  THE  BEACH.  321 

one  trait  which  distinguishes  them  from  the  monastic  orders 
generally,  that  of  being  republicans  in  heart,  and  essentially  such 
in  practice.  In  the  insurrection  of  the  Carbonari,  a  main 
'  spoke  in  the  wheel'  was  a  Capuchin  friar,  who  wrought  dili- 
gently with  his  pen,  if  he  fought  not  with  his  sword.  He 
belonged,  if  I  mistake  not,  to  a  convent  in  Palermo. 

My  ride  back  from  the  Capuchins  was  delightful.  The 
evening  was  cloudless  and  serene.  The  road  followed  the  shore 
of  the  Mediterranean,  whose  waves  broke  with  a  gentle  murmur 
upon  the  rocks.  On  the  margin  of  a  little  cove,  1  passed 
a  company  of  fishermen.  They  had  kindled  a  fire  on  the 
beach,  the  light  of  which  showed  their  figures  to  singular  effect. 
Some  were  sleeping  on  the  sands  ;  others  were  employed  in 
cooking  their  evening  repast ;  one  was  singing,  —  albeit,  no 
Incledon  in  voice  or  skill,  —  and  the  idle  ones  from  time  to  time, 
would  join  in  the  rude  chorus.  Their  boats  were  hauled  upon 
the  shore,  and  their  fishing  apparatus  was  spread  beside  them.  — 
Approaching  the  city  gates  and  entering  the  main  thoroughfare, 
I  fell  in  with  a  troop  of  peasants  returning  with  their  mules  and 
donkeys,  well  burdened,  from  the  labours  of  the  field.  At  length, 
drawbridge,  gate  and  portcullis  were  passed,  and  I  was  once 
more  within  the  walls  of  Syracuse. 

March  12. — The  day  has  been  abundantly  occupied,  and 
like  the  two  preceding,  fraught  with  interest.  I  had  examined  a 
large  part  of  the  site  of  old  Syracuse,  but  there  were  objects  and 
spots  which  remained  to  be  seen,  and  to  arrive  at  them,  it  was 
necessary  to  take  a  wider  circuit. 

At  an  early  hour,  a  horse  was  waiting  in  the  court  which  had 
been  sent  for  my  use  by  the  Baron  of  B.  A  gentleman  — 
the  same  who  had  attended  me  to  the  catacombs,  and  who  had 
been  one  of  the  party  to  the  Greek  and  Roman  theatres,  — 
kindly  offered  his  services  as  companion.  He  was  mounted 
on  a  strong  mule,  an  animal  which  has  the  credit  of  surefooted- 
ness,  but  he  sadly  belied  his  character  in  the  course  of  the 
excursion  ;  for  in  a  rugged  place,  when  he  was  exhibiting  his 
paces  in  a  clumsy  gallop,  down  he  suddenly  fell,  and  both  he 
41 


322  SYRACUSE. 

and  his  rider  lay  sprawling  on  the  earth.  Fortunately,  no 
injury  was  suffered,  and  the  tumble  was  only  a  humourous 
episode. 

Leaving  the  barriers  of  the  town,  we  entered  on  a  plain 
stretching  to  the  south  and  west,  and  which  setdes  in  the  low 
wastes  irrigated,  not  drained,  by  the  rivfer  Anapus.  We  passed 
the  ground  once  occupied  by  the  temple  of  Ceres-Proserpina, 
one  of  the  twenty  spots  which  the  diligence  of  antiquaries  has 
identified  as  old  temple-sites.  But  of  nearly  all  of  them,  the 
places  only  can  be  seen,  time  having  fulfilled  on  them,  w^hat 
the  Roman  armies  accomplished  more  speedily  at  Jerusalem, 
leaving  not  one  stone  upon  another.  We  traversed  the  marshes 
by  a  rough,  half-ruined  causeway.  A  few  birds  w^ere  wheeling 
their  flight  over  the  cheerless  tract,  and  numerous  lizards  darted 
with  agility  through  the  rank  wild  grass.  The  latter  are  per- 
fectly harmless  creatures,  though  at  first  sight  they  look  rather 
suspicious.  They  are  generally  eight  or  ten  inches  long,  and 
the  colours  of  some  of  them  are  beautifully  diversified.  The 
marshes  are  still  proverbially  unhealthy.  In  the  sultry  months, 
they  continue  to  send  up  those  pestilent  miasms  which  were 
formerly  so  fatal  to  besieging  armies.  It  is  probable,  however, 
that  in  times  of  peace,  the  ancient  Syracusans  were  careful  to 
keep  them  drained,  and  thereby  to  diminish  the  danger  of 
their  proximity. 

We  crossed  the  river  by  a  dilapidated  stone  bridge,  and  pur- 
suing our  route  by  a  diverging  path,  at  length  reached  an  elevated 
spot  of  ground,  on  which  are  the  few  remains  of  the  celebrated 
temple  of  Jupiter  Olympius.  Few  they  truly  are.  Only  two 
columns  are  standing,  but  these  are  of  great  size  and  well 
deserving  of  attention.  They  are  about  forty  feet  high  and 
range  exactly  east  and  west,  which  t  ascertained  by  compass. 
Their  tops  are  mutilated,  and  their  sides  much  w^orn.  Each  of 
the  pillars  consists  of  a  base  and  shaft.  The  shaft,  which  is  a 
single  piece,  is  eighteen  feet  in  girth,  and  the  base  is  forty  four. 
The  pillars  are  neither  round  nor  fluted,  but  shaped  into  planes, 
or  sides,  sixteen  in  number.    Their  bases,  which  are  immensely 


TEMPLE  OF  JOVE  —  HIMILCO.  323 

Strong,  were  originally  plastered,  but  the  stucco  is  mostly  gone. 
The  distance  between  the  columns  is  thirtyfive  paces.  Near 
them  is  a  deep  cistern,  firmly  wailed ;  but  other  remains  and 
appendages  of  the  temple  are  wanting. 

In  description,  it  is  not  always  possible  to  convey  to  others 
the  impressions  produced  by  certain  objects,  or  to  make  in- 
telligible their  precise  cause,  if  indeed  their  reality.  It  may 
seem  surprising,  therefore,  that  two  such  objects  as  these  mutila- 
ted columns  should  be  contemplated  by  a  visiter  with  interest, 
or  that  they  should  awaken  any  emotion.  But  it  was  not  with 
indifference  that  I  beheld  them.  Each  is  stately  in  itself,  and 
doubly  so  from  its  position  and  those  associations  which  cannot  be 
detached.  Standing  remote  from  every  human  dwelling,  —  the 
surviving  monuments  of  a  once  stupendous  fane,  their  companions 
having  fallen,  from  age  to  age,  around  them,  —  no  longer  up- 
holding with  their  massy  strength  a  gorgeous  roof,  but  one  of  them 
propping  the  feeble  boughs  of  a  half-withered  oak,  —  marking, 
still  more  J  the  site  now  covered  with  a  greensward,  which  mul- 
titudes of  votaries  have  pressed  in  worship,  where  victims  have 
bled  and  sacrifices  have  smoked,  and  priests  and  hierophants 
have  officiated,  —  they  are  venerable  in  their  aspect,  and  grand 
in  their  very  solitude. 

The  temple  is  memorable  by  other  reminiscences.  Himilco, 
the  Carthaginian  general  who  lost  his  army  by  a  pestilence, 
selected  it  for  his  head-quarters,  pitching  his  tent  and  displaying 
his  ensigns  in  the  very  court  of  Jove.  This  was  deemed  a  most 
daring  sacrilege.  The  same  General  wantonly  despoiled  and 
profaned  the  temple  of  Ceres  and  Proserpine ;  and  to  strengthen 
himself  in  his  positions  before  Syracuse,  destroyed  the  tombs  of 
some  of  its  noblest  citizens,  not  sparing  the  magnificent  mauso- 
leum of  Gelon.  All  these  barbarities  were  construed  into  im- 
pieties meriting  the  judgments  of  Heaven.  And  when  his  army 
soon  after  wasted  away  by  the  all-devouring  plague,  it  was  said 
that  the  insulted  shades  and  the  power  of  the  offended  gods 
interposed  to  mete  out  to  him  and  his  myrmidons,  a  righteous 
retribution.     Livy,  in  his  Twenty  fourth  Book,  and  Diodorus  in 


324 


SYRACUSE. 


his  Fourteenth,  have  given  detailed  accounts  of  these  events,  the 
latter  adding  to  his  record  as  historian,  the  sage  reflections  of  a 
moral  philosopher. 

The  view  from  the  temple  eminence  overlooks  the  spot  where, 
in  the  following  century,  the  heroic  Timoleon  made  the  disposi- 
tions of  his  gallant  little  corps  in  that  splendid  assault  on  the  city 
which  resulted  in  its  capture  along  with  the  defeat  of  Icetas,  and 
sealed  the  final  downfal  of  the  tyranny  of  the  younger  Diony- 
sius.  But  however  brave  as  a  man,  or  skilful  as  a  general,  he 
could  not  have  prevailed  against  such  vast  apparent  odds,  unless 
he  had  been  stimulated  by  that  best  omen  of  success,  a  righteous 
cause,  and  unless  the  perfidious  conduct  of  his  antagonist  had 
raised  up  among  the  Syracusans  a  host  of  foes,  who  were  eager 
to  throw  open  their  gates  to  a  meritorious  assailant. 

The  fate  of  the  tyrant  Dionysius  strikingly  exhibited  the  vi- 
cissitudes of  fortune.  When  he  succeeded  to  the  government 
of  Syracuse,  the  absolute  sovereign  of  a  rich  and  powerful 
state,  he  had  at  his  command  an  army  of  one  hundred  thousand 
men,  ten  thousand  horse,  and  a  naval  force  estimated  at  five 
hundred  ships  of  war.  Expelled  from  his  possessions,  and  an 
exile  in  Corinth,  he  was  obliged  in  his  necessities  to  keep  a 
school  for  support.  Cicero  wittily  remarked,  that  he  chose  the 
employment  that  he  might  continue  to  be  a  tyrant,  and  being  no 
longer  able  to  command  men,  that  he  might  still  exercise  his 
authority  over  boys.  ^^ 

The  riches  of  Syracuse  on  its  conquest,  at  a  much  later  period, 
by  the  Romans,  were  immense.  Plutarch  reports  the  plunder  to 
have  equalled  that  of  Carthage,  whose  overthrow  was  hastened 
by  the  fall  of  this  mighty  bulwark.  The  city,  contrary  to  the 
wishes  of  the  brave  and  generous  victor,  was  given  up  to  the 
soldiers  for  pillage.  He  strove  in  vain  to  divert  them  from  their 
purpose,  but  they  were  so  exasperated  at  the  obstinate  siege  of 
three  years,  which  the  Syracusans  had  sustained,  and  the  terrible 
repulses  and  havoc  caused^  from  time  to  time,  by  the  warlike 
engines  invented  by  Archimedes,  that  neither  Marcellus  nor  any 
of  his  officers  durst  oppose  their  resolution.    Many  of  the  soldiers 


MARCELLUS  — FALL  OF  THE  CITV.  325 

insisted  that  the  city  should  be  burnt  and  lev^elled  with  the 
ground,  and  the  Roman  general  thought  himself  happy  to  rescue 
it  from  that  extremity.  An  anecdote  which  Plutarch  gives,  in 
illustration  of  the  humanity  of  Marcellus,  serves  at  the  same 
time  to  convey  an  idea  of  the  grandeur  and  beauty  of  Syracuse 
as  it  had  been  left  by  Hiero  II.  and  as  it  appeared  when,  a. 
few  years  after,  the  Roman  eagles  were  planted  against  it. 

The  outposts  had  been  carried.  Hexapylum,  a  strong  cita- 
del, was  in  possession  of  the  besiegers.  Their  legions  had 
entered  Tyche,  and  preparations  were  made  to  storm.  On  the 
morning  of  the  destined  day,  when  the  trumpets  were  about  to 
sound,  and  the  tremendous  charge  to  begin,  Marcellus  'surveying,'' 
says  his  biographer,  *  from  an  eminence,  that  great  and  magnifi- 
cent city,  shed  many  tears  in  pity  of  its  impending  fate,  reflect- 
ing into  what  a  scene  of  misery  and  desolation  its  fair  appearance 
would  be  changed,  when  it  came  to  be  sacked  and  plundered 
by  the  Romans.'  —  It  fell ;  and  in  a  few  hours  the  prosperity  of 
that  flourishing  state  whose  power  and  opulence  had  been  ac- 
cumulating through  five  centuries, — in  the  energetic  language 
of  the  historian  — '  was  no  more.'  The  city,  it  is  true,  was  not 
burned,  —  it  was  notraz(  d  to  the  ground  like  Corinth  and  Car- 
thage. It  was  not  destitute  of  a  certain  consequence,  for  its 
inhabitants  were  still  very  numerous.  But  the  independence  of 
Syracuse  was  annihilated ;  the  sun  of  its  political  glory  had 
forever  set. 

In  addition  to  other  spoils,  the  most  curious  monuments  of 
art,  —  the  paintings  and  sculptures  which  adorned  the  temples 
and  palaces  of  Syracuse,  — were  carried  to  Italy,  and  after  em- 
bellishing the  triumph  of  Marcellus,  graced  the  public  edifices 
of  the  capital.  The  introduction  of  these  created  and  diffused 
a  taste  for  the  fine  arts  among  the  Romans.  Till  then,  the 
citizens  had  been  ignorant  of  that  species  of  refinement,  and 
Syracuse  had  the  merit  of  schooling  her  conquerors  into  a  sense 
of  its  value  and  beauties.  No  longer,  alone,  the  '  temple  of 
frowning  Mars,'  in  which  bloody  trophies  and  the  arms  taken 
from  barbarous   nations   were   hung    up,   Rome  became   the 


326  SYRACUSE. 

seat  of  arts,  and  the  depository  of  the  choicest  monuments  of 
cultivated  taste.  In  a  half  century  more,  Carthage  and  Corinth, 
and  subsequently  to  them,  Alexandria,  Antioch  and  other  illustri- 
ous cities  added  their  treasures  to  the  universal  storehouse  ;  and 
the  mistress  of  the  world  attained  that  magnificence  which  out- 
vied every  other  capital  whether  in  ancient  or  modern  times. 

The  fall  of  Syracuse  was  therefore  in  a  double  sense  a  most 
impoitant  era  in  the  history  of  Rome.  But  the  removal  of  its 
richest  ornaments  by  no  means  pleased  the  graver  Roman 
senators.  They  blamed  Marcellus  for  introducing  among  the 
youth  a  fondness  for  what  they  deemed  mere  baubles,  and  quoted 
with  approbation  the  conduct  of  Fabius  Maximus,  who  on  the 
reduction  of  Tarentum,  sixty  years  before,  suffered  the  statues 
and  paintings  to  remain,  exclaiming,  '  Let  us  leave  the  Taren- 
tines  their  angry  gods.' 

But  the  event  most  painfully  memorable  in  the  conquest  of 
Syracuse,  was  the  death  of  Archimedes.  Every  one,  acquainted 
with  ancient  history,  knows  the  story  of  his  fate,  or  rather  the 
three  versions  of  it,  partially  variant,  which  have  been  left  on 
record.  All  accounts  agree  that  he  was  killed  in  the  confusion, 
consequent  upon  the  sack  of  the  city,  and  that  this  great  man, 
one  of  the  brightest  ornaments  of  human  genius,  retained  the 
character  of  a  true  philosopher  to  the  close.^^ 

I  find  myself  riveted  to  the  mount  of  observation.  It  is 
time  to  leave  it  and  resume  our  surveys  in  another  quarter. 

Returning  to  the  Anapus,  we  entered  a  boat  which  had  been 
ordered  to  be  in  readiness,  and  commenced  the  ascent  of  the 
stream.  It  divides  the  unwholesome  morasses  into  two  parts, 
formerly  called  Lysimelia  and  Syraco,  from  the  second  of  which 
the  city  took  its  name.  It  is  a  narrow  river  with  frequent 
windings.  It  rolls  a  dark,  muddy  and  sluggish  current.  The 
banks,  along  the  lower  part  of  its  course,  are  lined  with  canes 
and  brakes.  The  canes  are  of  the  bamboo  species,  and  are 
much  used  in  vineyards  for  the  training  and  support  of  the  plants. 
Further  up,  the  papyrus  began  to  make  its  appearance.  This 
celebrated  plant  I  found  growing  in  the  greatest  luxuriance  upon 


ANAPUS  —  CYANE.  327 

the  banks,  and  even  springing  from  the  midst  of  the  waters  ;  and 
it  was  the  expectation  of  seeing  it,  which  was  among  the  induce- 
ments of  tracing  the  Anapns  toward  its  sources. 

Pursuing  our  course  through  these  obstructions,  the  boat 
sometimes  rowed,  sometimes  pushed,  and  occasionally  cordelled, 
we  at  length  reached  a  curious  pool,  one  of  the  feeders  of  this 
Cocytus  stream.  It  was  the  fountain  of  Cyane.  The  basin  is 
circular,  twenty  yards  across,  and  twentyseven  feet  deep.  The 
waters,  which  are  ever  springing,  are  singularly  pellucid,  and 
abundantly  stocked  widi  fish.  So  clear  is  the  fountain,  that  the 
minutest  object  could  be  seen  at  the  bottom,  though  the  soil 
being  muddy,  gives  the  surface  a  blackish  hue.  The  margin  of 
the  pool  is  trimmed  with  a  profusion  of  aquatic  plants,  the  most 
conspicuous  variety  of  which,  as  before,  is  the  papyrus,  shooting 
up  its  green  stems  to  the  height  of  ten  or  twelve  feet,  crowned 
with  a  beautiful  fibrous  tuft  of  slender  filaments. 

The  fountain  of  Cyane  has  an  interest  independent  of  its 
connexion  with  the  Anapiis.     It  figures  in   ancient  mythology, 
and  its  waters  have  been  dyed  with  the  blood  of  the  sacrificial 
bull,  which  the  Sicilians  annually  offered  on  its  borders  in  honour 
of  Proserpine,  and  in  commemoration  of  the  spot  where  she 
disappeared  from  the  earth.     The  story  is  this;  —  when  Pluto 
became   enamoured   of  Proserpine,  whom  he  saw  gathering 
flowers  and  delighting  herself  with  the  beautiful  views,  delicious 
meads  and  limpid  streams  of  Enna,  he  made  his  suit  in  no 
lover-like  mood  —  an  art,  we  may  presume,  not  taught  in  his 
sable  dominions,  —  but  rudely  seizing  her,  hurried  her  away  in 
his  chariot.     The  nymph  Cyane  alarmed  by  her  cries  hastened 
to  her  succour,  and  to  punish  the  maiden's  zeal,  Pluto  meta- 
morphosed her  into  this  fountain,  the  waters  of  which  may  be 
considered  as  fed  by  her  tears.     Opening  for  himself  a  passage 
in  the  same  place  through  the  earth,  he  descended  with  his  prize 
to  Erebus.     Ceres,  discovering  the  girdle  of  her  daughter  on  the 
surface  of  the  fountain  of  Cyane,  and  learning  from  the  nymph 
Arethusa  whither  she  had  been  carried,  went  down  to  rescue 
her  from  the  arms  of  her  cruel  ravisher.     But  the  cunning  god 


328  SYRACUSE. 

had  permitted  his  bride  to  walk  in  the  Elysian  fields,  and  pluck 
and  eat  of  its  tempting  fruits,  whereby  she  forfeited  a  heritage 
on  earth  ;  and  Proserpine  was  doomed  to  remain  queen  of  the 
hideous  :  realm,  though,  (contrary  to  the  sentiment  of  Milton's 
hero,)  she  found  it  worse  'to  reign  '  in  such  a  place,  than  else- 
where '  to  serve  '  —  a  more  agreeable   spouse. 

As  for  the  passage  below,  we  took  it  upon  trust.  Neither  my 
friend  nor  myself  had  any  particular  fancy  to  explore  it,  or  go 
down  for  the  latest  intelligence.  It  was  enough  for  us  that  our 
boatmen  had  much  the  appearance  of  a  couple  of  Charon's 
crew,  —  for  in  his  old  age  he  doubtless  finds  it  convenient  to 
employ  some  younger  hands,  —  and  the  dark  current  of  the 
Anapus  warranted  the  suspicion  that,  besides  the  tears  of  the 
nymph  Cyane,  it  must  receive  some  accession  from  the  sullen 
waters  of  the  river  Styx. 

Provided  with  an  abundance  of  the  papyrus  reeds,  w^e  re- 
traced our  course.  The  fountain,  I  should  observe,  —  now 
called  by  the  unpoetic  name  of  Pisma,  —  is  about  six  miles  distant 
from  the  bay.  In  no  other  part  of  Sicily  does  the  papyrus  grow 
spontaneously.  The  largest  stems  of  this  curious  plant  are 
three  inches  thick  near  the  root,  and  taper  gradually  to  the  top. 
They  prefer  to  grow  in  bunches,  the  clusters  being  formed  from 
the  young  and  vigorous  suckers  constantly  springing  up  from  the 
extending  roots.  In  some  parts  they  have  formed  quite  a 
grove,  or  jungle.  In  general,  they  thrive  best  by  the  edge  of  the 
water,  provided  there  be  sufficient  moisture  for  bathing  the 
roots,  instead  of  vegetating  from  the  bottom  of  the  stream.  I 
saw  a  few  specimens  growing  actually  afloat.  When  detached 
from  the  parent  plant,  they  succeed  in  forming  a  sort  of  matting 
with  their  roots,  which,  becoming  deeper  and  broader,  in  process 
of  time  is  converted  into  a  litde  buoyant  islet. 

The  papyrus  has  been  growing  on  this  spot  for  more  than  two 
thousand  years.  The  era  of  its  introduction  is  referred  to  the 
reign  of  Hiei'o,  who  is  said  to  have  received  it  from  Egypt  as  a 
present  from  Ptolemy  Philadelphus.  It  is  a  little  curious  that  a 
plant  so  famous,  which  has  given  its  name  to  the  modern  ma- 


THEORY  OF  DIONYSIUS'  EAR.  329 

terial  for  writing,  and  on  the  leaves  which  it  furnished,  Theo- 
critus very  probably  traced  his  beautiful  Idyls,  and  Archimedes 
his  profound  problems,  should  now  be  converted  to  no  more 
worthy  purpose  by  the  Sicilians  than  that  of  withes  for  binding 
up  their  corn.  ^^ 

We  returned  to  the  bridge  after  three  hours'  absence,  and 
were  glad  to  leave  the  barge  and  resume  our  former  mode  of 
conveyance.  We  rode  to  the  Ear  of  Dionysius,  which  I  wished 
to  examine  again.  It  struck  me,  if  possible,  as  more  wonderful 
than  on  the  first  visit.  It  is  indeed  a  most  stupendous  and 
amazing  work  of  art.  There  is  no  mistaking  that  it  was  the 
labour  of  a  tyrant,  and  such  a  tyrant  as  Dionysius,  —  one  who 
held  in  his  hand  the  resources  of  a  mighty  state,  whose  subjects 
were  slaves,  all  moving  and  acting  at  his  single  nod.  The 
despot,  who  in  the  space  of  twenty  days  could  construct  a  mili- 
tary wall  thirty  stadia  in  length,  and  of  the  proper  height  and  solid- 
ity to  defy  impression,  employing  for  that  purpose  sixty  thousand 
men  and  six  thousand  yoke  of  oxen,  —  a  work,  the  vestiges  of 
which  remain  to  this  day  to  astonish  the  beholder,  —  such  a 
man  of  all  others  could  command  and  accomplish,  at  his  mere 
pleasure,  the  marvellous  excavation  to  which  I  allude.  ^^ 

But  what  was  its  purpose?  —  it  may  still  be  asked.  A 
learned  antiquary  of  this  city,  Signor  Poleti,  has  hit  upon  a  bold 
hypothesis,  namely,  that  the  cavern  was  built  to  serve  as  a 
mighty  reverberator  of  the  music  performed  in  the  Greek 
theatre.  In  an  interview  with  him  this  evening,  I  was  more 
amused  than  convinced,  by  the  earnestness  with  which  he 
maintained  his  theory.  He  concluded,  as  he  began,  with  de- 
claring that  the  cavern  was  nothing  else  than  '  una  Grotta  fatta 
artificiosamente  per  cantarvi  musica,  perche  v'  e  un  bellissimo 
eco.' 

I  have  already  said  that  the  Greek  theatre  is  very  near  the 
Ear  of  Dionysius,  being  built  on  a  back  declivity  of  the  same 
hill.  It  is  asserted,  that  between  the  upper  extremity  of  the 
cavern  and  the  nearest  part  of  the  theatre,  —  the  Tropaea  for 
example,  —  the  thickness  of  the  rock  is  not  more  than  twenty- 


330  SYRACUSE. 

five  Sicilian  palms,  equal  to  twentyone  feet  English ;  and 
through  this  rock  an  ancient  communication  is  supposed  to  have 
existed.  In  confirmation  of  such  a  connexion,  Signer  P.  assured 
me  that,  one  day,  having  taken  shelter  in  the  cavern  during  a 
heavy  shower,  with  some  friends,  they  found  the  rain  trickling 
upon  them  from  a  part  of  the  roof;  and  they  presumed  it  must 
proceed  from  the  crevices  of  an  old  aperture  toward  the  side  of 
the  theatre,  imperfectly  closed.  He  further  cited  the  instance 
of  a  cave  somewhere  in  Attica,  made  on  a  plan  similar  to  this,  and 
confessedly  for  the  object  which  he  conceives  the  Ear  to  have 
been  solely  designed  to  effect.  It  is  a  curious  conception,  truly, 
which  transforms  this  wondrous  grotto  into  a  vast  organ-pipe,  its 
walls  into  a  sounding-board,  the  watchtower  of  the  tyrant,  per- 
chance, into  a  music-loft ;  —  and  which  strips  the  cavern  of  all 
the  associated  gloom  entailed  by  the  tradition  of  ages,  —  a 
gloom  deeper  than  even  the  midnight  darkness  which  it  perpet- 
ually wraps  in  its  bosom.  In  such  a  place  where,  as  I  heard, 
the  report  of  a  pistol  is  like  the  discharge  of  an  enormous 
cannon,  and  its  echo  is  as  the  roll  of  deep-toned  thunder,  what 
must  be  the  volume  of  sound  which  an  instrumental  band  would 
produce  !  It  has  been  often  said,  that  there  is  but  a  step  from 
the  sublime  to  the  ridiculous.  I  do  not  say  on  which  side  the 
theory  proposed  should  be  classed,  but  only,  if  it  be  not  with 
the  former,  there  is  no  alternative  but  one  —  its  reduction  to  an 
absurdity. 

My  survey  of  the  classic  '  locale '  of  Syracuse  was  now 
completed  ;  but  there  was  one  spot,  totally  dissociated  in  the 
character  of  its  interest,  which  claimed  a  visit,  and  which  I 
could  not  neglect.  It  was  the  garden  of  the  Chevalier  Lando- 
lina,  a  retreat  beautiful  in  itself,  and  dear  to  an  American 
as  the  place  which  sepulchres  the  remains  of  some  of  those 
brave  men  who  perished  during  the  Tripolitan  war.  The 
squadron  of  Commodore  Preble  having  put  into  this  port  to 
refit,  the  Chevalier  Landolina  generously  gave  up  his  country- 
house  to  be  used  as  a  hospital  for  the  sick  and  wounded  ;  and 
those  who  died  were  buried  in  a  part  of  the  garden.     The  spot 


AMERICAN  CEMETERY.  331 

is  planted  with  cypresses,  olives,  caroobs,  and  other  well  chosen 
trees. 

Tlie  graves  of  the  seamen  are  disposed  in  rows.  Nothing 
can  be  neater  than  their  arrangement  and  condition.  In  an 
appropriate  recess  stands  the  tomb  of  James  S.  Deblois,  purser 
to  the  Frigate  Constitution.  He  died  30th  Nov.  ]  803.  His 
name  is  carved  on  a  tablet  of  black  jEtnean  lava.  A 
marble  slab  is  set  into  the  face  of  the  wall,  on  which  the  figure 
of  Columbia,  in  basso  relievo,  is  represented  weeping  over  an 
urn.  The  figure  is  a  full  length,  finely  executed.  Under  this, 
the  arms  of  the  United  Slates  are  engraven.  The  monument 
was  erected  by  his  brother  officers.  In  another  romantic  spot 
of  the  garden,  is  a  tomb  distinguished  by  two  Doric  pillars  sup- 
porting a  pediment  and  placed  against  the  side  of  the  wall. 
Between  the  pillars,  an  inscription  is  neatly  carved  recording 
the  names  of  Lieutenants  James  Maxwell  and  Seth  Carter, 
who  died  in  1806.  The  sculptured  emblems  consist  of  the 
U.  S.  arms  and  a  laurelled  bust  weeping.  —  Peace  to  their 
ashes !    They  rest  not  unhonoured  even  here. 

'  How  sleep  the  brave  wbo  sink  to  rest 
With  all  their  country's  honours  blest.' 

Once  more  within  the  city,  but  on  the  eve  of  quitting  it  finally, 
I  am  reminded  that  in  speaking  of  the  things^  I  have  nearly 
overlooked  the  men  of  it ;  and  have  said  little  of  its  present 
condition  in  the  retrospect  of  its  faded  glories.  But  in  fact  it 
is  the  shade  of  this  once  queenly  city,  —  the  manes  of  buried 
Syracuse,  —  hovering  as  it  were  over  the  spot  of  her  sepulture, 
—  which  chains  and  engrosses  the  attention.  Fancy  depicts  her 
venerable  form  dimly,  but  grandly  looming  through  the  mist  of 
ages,  and  feels  it  to  be  almost  a  species  of  irreverence  to  heed 
or  to  speak  of  aught  else  in  so  majestic  a  presence. 

It  has  been  remarked  by  travellers,  that  the  m.odern  Syracu- 
sans  show  their  lineage  by  their  personal  traits,  particularly  the 
women,  whose  Grecian  contour  of  countenance  is  very  apparent. 
What  is  quite  as  worthy  of  mention,  as  illustrating  the  perma- 


332  SYRACUSE. 

nency  of  habit,  is,  that  the  distaff,  famous  from  early  times 
and  which  Theocritus  assures  us  was  invented  here,  is  still  in 
use  by  the  females.  They  ply  it  abroad  before  the  doors  of 
their  houses,  and  even  while  walking  the  streets,  and  manage  it 
with  great  dexterity. 

A  stranger  should  be  cautious  about  drawing  too  sudden  or 
sweeping  inferences  from  first  impressions ;  yet  with  this  caveat 
in  mind,  I  feel  safe  in  saying,  that  the  houses  of  Syracusans  by 
no  means  abound  in  those  conveniences  which  an  Englishman  or 
an  American  thinks  essential  to  comfort.  The  best  proof  is,  that 
no  small  part  of  the  occupations  and  amusements  of  both  sexes 
are  carried  on  abroad.  It  is  pretty  evident,  also,  that  whatever  be 
the  merit  of  the  distaff,  the  invention  of  window-glass  must  owe 
its  origin  to  some  other  people.  Its  scarcity  is  poorly  compen- 
sated by  close  board  shutters,  and  iron  gratings  affixed  to  the 
windows,  strong  as  the  hurdles  used  in  guarding  graves  from 
the  resurrection-men.  Cleanliness,  too,  it  would  seem,  is  not 
the  besetting  habit  of  the  citizens  of  Syracuse.  The  streets  and 
entrances  to  their  houses  are  wofully  deficient  in  this  prime 
requisite  of  comfort.  Yesterday,  I  paid  my  respects  to  a  prin- 
cess to  whom  I  came  accredited.  Her  mansion  is  a  spacious 
one,  and,  so  far,  suitable  to  her  rank ;  but  the  court  I  found  in 
the  dirtiest  condition,  and  the  main  stairway  in  no  better.  I 
was  conducted  through  a  suite  of  apartments  nearly  unfurnished, 
the  floors  of  which,  laid  in  tiles,  might  have  been  essentially 
improved  by  the  addition  of  a  carpet,  but  this  was  a  luxury  re- 
served for  the  room  of  state  into  which  I  was  finally  ushered. 
There,  things  were  on  a  better  footing ;  and  I  am  bound  to 
add,  that  the  attractions  of  the  fair  mistress  of  the  '  palace,'  who 
to  her  other  accomplishments  unites  a  familiar  knowledge  of  the 
English  tongue,  made  a  most  agreeable  contrast  to  the  unpre- 
possessing impressions  suggested  by  previous  objects. 

The  fondness  of  the  Sicilians  for  titles  is  excessive.  Their 
number  of  nobles  is  manifold.  They  remind  one  of  Falstaff's 
similitude,  — '  plenty  as  blackberries.'  The  Sicilian  peerage 
in  the  whole,  comprises  probably  a  greater  catalogue  of  titled 


TITLES  —  POLITICAL  SIGNS.  333 

personages,  In  proportion  to  the  population  of  the  island,  than 
can  be  foLind  in  any  other  country.  In  the  old  parliament  prior 
to  1812,  there  were  227  nobles  besides  61  spiritual  peers  en- 
titled to  seats,  and  they  comprehended  not  one  half  of  the  entire 
nobility  of  this  small  kingdom.  By  the  new  constitution,  170 
temporal  peers  only  are  permitted  to  serve  in  parliament,  leav- 
ing more  than  300  excluded  from  the  privilege.  The  number  of 
ecclesiastical  dignitaries  remains  the  same.  Sicily,  be  it  remem- 
bered, has  a  population  but  a  little  exceeding  one  million  six  hun- 
dred thousand  souls.  Yet  it  is  burdened  with  this  enormous  peer- 
age under  the  pompous  titles  of  princes,  dukes,  marquisses  and 
barons,  —  archbishops,  bishops  and  grand  priors, —besides  the 
vice-regal  court  and  Princes  of  the  blood,  —  to  say  nothing  of  a 
swarm  of  chevaliers,  and  a  countless  troop  of  inferior  ecclesias- 
tics. All  this  is  the  fruit  of  that  beautiful  order  of  things  called 
Monarchical,  which  blends  in  unholy  alliance  the  powers  of 
Church  and  State,  and  uses  their  magic  influence,  —  more  ef- 
fectual than  the  philosopher's  stone,  —  to  transmute  all  the  pro- 
perty of  the  island  into  a  source  of  personal  emolument  and 
aggrandizement  for  the  usurping  League,  and  thus  to  perpetuate 
the  evils  of  an  overgrown  system  of  abuses. 

But  the  people  are  beginning  to  open  their  eyes  to  the  mon- 
strous and  too  long  tolerated  inequalities  of  condition  and  privi- 
lege existing  in  the  social  structure,  and  to  understand  the 
enormity  of  fraud  in  which  the  whole  is  founded.  The  polit- 
ical explosion  of  1820  was  but  the  rumbling,  the  menace,  of  the 
mustering  tempest.  Government,  by  its  precautionary  measures 
of  defence,  evinces  a  consciousness  of  this,  and  a  correspondent 
alarm.  In  addition  to  the  fact  heretofore  stated,  of  removing 
a  part  of  the  cannon  and  dismounting  the  remainder  belonging 
to  this  rampart,  through  fear  of  its  being  turned  against  itself, 
government  has  passed  a  law  requiring  that  every  man  for  the 
privilege  of  keeping  a  musket  shall  pay  three  ducats,  and  give 
tw^o  bondsmen  for  his  peaceable  behaviour ;  and  if  it  be  a  fowl- 
ing-piece, he  shall  be  taxed  three  dollars  more,  annually,  for  the 


334  SYRACUSE. 

right  of  using  it.  This  amounts  to  a  prohibition  of  fire-arms 
in  respect  to  the  great  body  of  the  people,  especially  as  the 
officers  of  the  crown  undertake  to  decide  who  of  those  that  can 
afford  to  pay  the  charges,  are  suitable  persons  to  be  allowed  even 
that  poor  indulgence.  A  consequence  is  that  game  is  extremely 
abundant  in  the  neighbourhood,  so  much  so,  that  considering 
the  wants  of  the  people  it  was  at  first  a  matter  of  surprise  to  me, 
until,  on  my  remarking  upon  it  to  a  friend  in  one  of  my  excursions, 
I  was  told  the  true  cause.  The  first  tax,  viz.  of  three  ducats, 
has  been  imposed  since  1820  ;  the  annual  cost  of  using  a  fowling- 
piece,  has  been  lately  raised  from  a  half  dollar  to  the  present  sum. 

How  different  such  a  state  of  things  from  what  prevails  with 
us,  where  every  man  capable  of  shouldering  a  musket  is  obliged 
by  law  to  possess  one,  —  where,  instead  of  being  taxed  for  the 
privilege,  he  is  fined  if  he  neglect  it !  In  this  point  of  view,  the 
spectacle  presented  by  the  American  people  is  sublime.  A 
population  of  thirteen  millions  of  freemen,  with  an  effective  force 
of  a  million  and  a  half  of  armed  males  existing,  not  as  another 
power  within,  but  as  an  integral  part  of  the  Republic,  whose 
bayonets,  instead  of  being  dreaded  by  the  rulers,  are  prepared  to 
bristle  in  defiance  of  any  foreign  foe  who  should  dare  to  plant  a 
foot  within  their  borders,  —  such  an  exhibition  is  indeed  morally 
grand.  It  shows  that  freedom  is  the  conservative  principle  of  a 
state ;  that  liberty,  like  knowledge,  is  power  ;  and  that  the  gov- 
ernment is  stablest  which  emanates  from  the  will  and  reposes  in 
the  affections  of  a  people.  The  arms  of  the  citizens  of  such  a 
government  cannot  be  turned  against  its  own  bosom,  for  along 
with  the  guilt,  there  would  then  be  the  folly, — the  unheard  of 
madness,  of  national  suicide. 

Business  of  every  sort,  in  Syracuse,  is  nearly  at  a  stand.  It 
is  pitiable,  that  its  noble  harbour,  capable  of  accommodating  the 
largest  fleets,  should  be  almost  totally  shut  up  from  commerce. 
It  was  a  bad  day  for  Syracuse,  as  well  as  for  Sicily  generally, 
when  the  power  of  Murat  was  annihilated  in  Naples,  and  when 
Ferdinand  was  allowed  to  return  to  his  old  capital.  For  during 
the  military  occupation  of  the  island  by  the  English,  under  pre- 


STAGNATION  OF  TRADE  —  CITIZENS.  335 

text  of  guarding  it  from  the  French,  money  was  circulating  and 
trade  was  reviving,  and  many  salutary  changes  and  reforms  were 
in  process.  The  English,  while  pursuing  their  own  objects  here, 
were  indirectly  and  essentially  promoting  the  good  of  the  inhab- 
itants ;  and  well  it  would  have  been,  had  Sicily  remained  in  their 
permanent  possession.  But  with  their  withdrawment  at  the  re- 
storation, things  relapsed  into  the  old  state,  or  in  fact  into  a  worse 
one  if  possible,  in  consequence  of  the  increased  taxes  levied  by 
an  impoverished  court,  and  the  not  diminished  rapacity  of  a 
merciless  aristocracy ;  and  if  the  complaints  uttered  here,  be  as 
loud  throughout  the  island,  Sicily  must  be  in  a  most  deplorable 
situation. 

It  has  been  gratifying  to  me  to  hear  from  all  quarters,  the  most 
favorable  sentiments  avowed  toward  the  United  States.  Regret 
is  expressed  that  our  ships  of  war  do  not  oftener  visit  the  port ; 
and  the  people  would  be  glad  if  it  should  be  made  a  sort  of 
naval  depot  for  our  squadrons,  like  Mahon.  Indeed,  I  doubt 
not  that,  were  it  consistent  with  the  policy  of  the  United  States 
to  hold  any  foreign  colony,  and  if  an  arrangement  could  be  made 
with  the  Neapolitan  court  to  secure  to  us  this  port  as  an  indem- 
nity for  our  commercial  claims,  the  Syracusans  would  not  weep 
at  its  transfer  to  the  American  flag. 

Their  personal  acquaintance  with  the  citizens  of  the  United 
States,  has  been  almost  wholly  confined  to  the  officers  of  our  navy. 
Fortunately  in  such,  they  have  had  favourable  specimens  of 
the  American  character ;  but  it  is  surprising  that  the  steps  of 
travellers  have  not  been  attracted  hither.  The  consul  informs 
me,  that  previously  to  my  coming,  no  American  tourist  has 
visited  Syracuse  purely  for  purposes  of  observation,  since  he 
has  been  in  office,  a  period  of  twelve  years ;  at  least  none  who 
have  been  made  known  to  him,  —  and  Syracuse  is  not  a  place 
where  a  stranger  would  be  easily  overlooked. 

In  my  intercourse  with  the  inhabitants,  I  have  met  with  but  one 
uniform  dispositiori  to  oblige,  and  a  friendly  zeal  to  promote  the 
objects  of  my  researches  and  inquiries.     I  have  seen  much,  and 


336 


SYRACUSE. 


learned  more,  to  inspire  me  with  a  liking  for  their  general  character. 
They  are  kind,  affable,  and  hospitable,  —  indolent,  not  so  much 
from  choice  as  from  necessity,  —  endued  with  a  good  degree  of 
native  perspicacity, — and  with  a  better  government  than  that 
under  which  it  is  their  misfortune  to  live,  they  might  challenge  a 
name  that  would  not  disparage  their  renowned  extraction,  and 
emulate  the  commercial  enterprise;  though  never  the  warlike 
glories,  of  ancient  Syracuse. 


CHAPTER   XII. 


JOURNEY    TO   CATAJNIA 


Preliminaries.  —  Last  View  of  Syracuse.  —  Suburban  Tombs.  —  Animal  Traits. 
—  Augusta  and  Hybla.  —  Leontine  Fields.  —  Sicilian  Inn. — Aspect  of  the 
Country.  —  Olive  Groves;  Vineyards.  —  Rural  Economy.  —  A  Ford.  —  Ap- 
proach to  Mt.  vEtna. — Magnificence  of  the  Scenery.  —  A  Meeting. — 
Entrance  to  Catania.  —  Former  Catastrophes  of  the  City Present  Pros- 
perity.— Streets  and  Piazza. — Lavas.  —  Eruption  of  1669. — Sieste. — 
Travellers'  Annoyances.  —  Ancient  Theatres — Baths.  —  Public  Institu- 
tions. 


Plain  of  Leontium;  March  13.  —  JVoon.- — I  left  Syra- 
cuse at  five,  this  morning.  It  was  after  a  sleepless  night,  not  the 
best  preparative  for  a  fatiguing  day's  journey.  But  the  evening 
had  been  occupied  to  a  late  hour  with  pleasant  company,  and 
when  it  separated,  my  journal  was  to  be  brought  up,  and  I  con- 
tinued at  my  table,  busy  with  my  pen  and  insensible  to  the  lapse 
of  time,  till  morning  broke.  A  muleteer  then  called,  according 
to  previous  arrangement,  for  my  baggage.  The  operation  of 
fixing  and  adjusting  it  to  the  back  of  the  animal  which  was  to 
carry  it,  occupied  the  better  part  of  an  hour.  A  Yankee  would 
have  required  ten  minutes  at  the  most ;  but  the  Sicilians  have 
not  learned  the  proverb,  that  '  time  is  money.'  Breakfast  was 
next  to  be  attended  to.  At  length,  everything  was  in  order. 
The  muleteer,  with  his  patient  drudge,  took  up  the  van  of  the 
march,  and  I  mounted  upon  a  horse  and  brought  up  the  rear. 
A  gentleman,  lodging  in  the  same  house  with  me,  rose  to  see  me 
on  my  way,  and  gave  me  the  pleasure  of  his  company  a  mile 
or  two  beyond  the  Barriers. 
43 


338  JOURNEY  TO  CATANIA. 

The  streets  were  quiet,  few  being  astir  at  so  early  an  hour. 
Their  desertion,  combined  with  the  antique  aspect  of  the  walls 
and  structures,  gave  the  city  a  more  than  usually  gloomy  ap- 
pearance. At  the  gates,  there  were  some  signs  of  life.  Country 
people,  with  their  unfailing  attendants,  mules  and  donkeys,  were 
coming  in  with  their  produce  for  market ;  and  a  few  were  going 
forth  from  the  city  to  the  labours  of  the  field. 

1  stopped  at  the  tomb  of  Archimedes.  It  was  near  the  route 
which  I  was  to  travel,  and  I  was  glad  of  an  opportunity  to  pay  it 
one  more  visit.  Archimedes  was  the  Newton  of  his  age,  and  whole 
generations  in  advance  of  it.  In  the  science  of  mechanics,  per- 
haps, he  never  has  been  equalled.  Not  only  was  he  great  as 
a  philosopher ;  history  has  recorded  his  worth  as  a  man.  No 
one  stain  has  she  traced  upon  his  character.  He  was  honoured 
and  admired  while  living ;  he  was  lamented  at  death,  and  his 
memory  has  been  reverenced  by  the  wise  and  good  of  every 
succeeding  age. 

While  resting  at  the  philosopher's  tomb,  the  sun  rose  with  full 
splendour.  jEtna  in  the  distance  was  seen  to  catch  and  reflect 
his  golden  beams  —  the  snows  on  its  summit  looking  like  clouds 
of  fleecy  brightness.  The  scene,  throughout,  was  one  of  great 
beauty.  Behind  me  were  the  rocky  heights  of  Epipolae, 
once  crowned  with  embattled  towers ;  in  front,  the  naked 
plain  of  Acradina,  lovely  even  in  desolation,  was  spread 
out  in  its  length  and  breadth.  Syracuse,  a  conspicuous  object, 
was  sufficiently  removed  to  appear  well,  —  its  dirt  forgot  or  at 
least  forgiven.  Across  the  bay,  the  bold  promontory  of  Plem- 
myrium  was  discerned,  but  by  no  means  answering  to  its 
ancient  epithet  of  '  stormy,'  for  the  blue  broad  sea  reposed 
tranquilly  about  it.  —  Still,  who  could  look  upon  that  scene  with- 
out sad  emotions !  How  numerous  the  reflections,  and  how 
solemn  as  numerous,  which  were  sure  to  be  called  up  by  the 
objects  concentrated  in  that  one  view !  Syracuse,  once  like 
Tyre,  exalted  to  Heaven,  alas,  what  fell  ruin  has  come  upon 
her  !    Star  of  the  morning,  how  art  thou  fallen  ! 


Towns.  330 

Taking  a  last  look  of  the  ancient  cit}-,  and  plucking  a  little  blue 
flower  from  a  crevice  in  the  walls  of  the  tomb  of  that  great 
man,  whose  name  would  alone  be  enough  to  render  Syracuse 
forever  memorable,  —  I  parted  from  my  friend,  and  turned  to 
pursue  my  solitary  way.  The  guide  with  the  sumpter  had  gone 
before,  and  I  was  not  sorry  to  be  alone.  Two  miles  further,  on 
mounting  an  eminence,  I  remarked  on  the  steep  slope  of  a  hill 
which  stretched  to  my  left,  a  range  of  openings  hewn  in  the 
rock,  some  arched,  some  square,  and  others  oblong,  but  all  of 
them  so  many  entrances  to  tombs.  In  their  general  appearance 
they  were  much  like  those  of  the  Strada  Sepolcrale  in  the 
quarter  of  Neapolis.  Even  the  path  which  I  travelled,  although 
the  highway  used  for  ages,  passed  over  tombs.  A  French 
tourist  not  long  since  found,  in  the  course  of  some  excavations 
which  he  undertook,  sepulchres,  which  had  been  unknown 
and  unsuspected,  actually  beneath  the  public  road.  He  caused 
them  to  be  opened,  and  bones,  lachrymatories,  and  in  some  of 
them,  cinerary  urns  were  discovered.  I  had  to  turn  my  horse 
aside  from  several  of  the  unclosed  pits,  to  prevent  falling  into 
them.  In  another  place  an  hour  after,  I  perceived  on  the  side 
of  a  long  rocky  ridge  more  remote  from  the  road,  a  row  of 
tombs  which  extended  for  a  full  half  mile.  Indeed,  they  have 
occurred  so  frequently  on  the  ride  as,  at  last,  scarcely  to  excite 
attention.  The  immense  number  of  tombs  found  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Syracuse  confirms  the  accounts  which  have  been 
given  of  the  abundance  of  its  former  population.  ^^ 

The  country  was  chiefly  rugged  and  neglected.  For  the 
first  few  miles  the  road  was  bare  rock.  It  is  a  species  of  lime- 
stone, hard  at  the  surface,  but  like  the  rock  of  Malta,  soft  and 
easily  penetrable  when  the  crust  has  been  worn  through. 
The  tracks  of  horses  and  mules  have  bored  deep  holes  in  it, 
and  the  rains  in  some  places  have  scooped  out  channels. 
The  way  is  entirely  impassable  by  wheels,  and  it  is  bad 
enough  for  equestrians.  It  is  obstructed  by  many  loose  stones, 
lying  on  the  main  bed  of  rock,  —  some  large  with  craggy 
points,  others  small  and  rolling,  —  and  a  fall  on  them  would  as- 


340  JOURNEY  TO  CATANIA. 

siiredly  produce  serious  injury  by  bruise  or  fracture,  if  nothing 
worse.  I  rode  the  first  league  with  no  little  apprehension,  espe- 
cially in  descending  hills  ;  and  I  wished  myself  more  than  once 
on  the  back  of  a  mule,  distrusting  the  safety  of  my  horse's 
tread.  But  T  found  the  fear  to  be  perfectly  imaginary,  as 
the  careful  steed  never  missed  or  faltered  in  his  steps,  except 
once  or  twice  at  the  beginning,  when  in  dangerous  places 
I  undertook  to  guide  him  and  placed  less  confidence  in  his 
discretion  than  my  own.  For  the  rest,  he  trod  with  admirable 
precision,  choosing  the  safest  spots  in  difficult  passes  with  the 
utmost  caution,  though  frequently  obliged  to  step  into  holes  of 
the  rock  full  knee-deep  ;  and  hitherto,  thanks  to  his  better  sa- 
gacity, he  has  brought  me  in  perfect  safety. 

Having  complimented  his  understanding,  I  wish  I  could  say 
as  much  for  his  comeliness.  In  truth,  he  was  a  homely  nag, 
obliged  to  make  up  in  solid  points  for  what  he  wanted  in  showy 
ones.  But  in  a  country  where  mules  and  jacks  are  almost  uni- 
versally used  in  journeying,  I  was  assured  it  was  a  piece  of 
good  fortune  to  procure  a  horse  at  all.  The  equipments  were 
in  sorry  plight ;  of  this  the  stirrups  were  a  fair  specimen.  One 
was  so  narrow  I  could  scarcely  squeeze  the  toe  of  my  boot  into 
it.     The  other  might  have  fitted  the  foot  of  a  Cyclops. 

As  for  the  mule  which  I  employed,  his  strength  and  patience 
were  quite  as  marvellous  as  the  shrewdness  of  the  horse  which 
I  rode.  From  the  quantity  of  my  luggage,  I  presumed  that 
two  mules  would  be  requisite  for  sumpters.  But,  no,  it  was 
said ; — a  mule,  by  law,  may  be  burdened  with — I  know  not  how 
many  pounds'  weight,  and  my  travelling  lading  was  not  half  the 
amount.     The  whole  was  therefore  girt  upon  the  back  of  one, 

—  with  the  addition  of  an  immense  packsaddle,  a  formidable 
pair  of  panniers,  and  other  sundries  belonging  to  the  muleteer, 

—  and  when  I  overtook  him,  I  found  that  he  himself,  though  a 
man  of  the  usual  size,  was  mounted  upon  the  animal  and  jogging 
on  with  a  perfectly  careless  air.  It  seemed  as  if  the  creature's 
back  must  break  under  such  a  load.     But  remonstrances  were 

The  fellow  only  smiled  at  what  he   deemed  my 


AUGUSTA  —  UYBL  A  —  LENTINI.  34 1 

misplaced  humanity,  and  to  show  how  unnecessary  it  was,  im- 
mediately whipped  the  animal  into  a  brisk  trot. 

Leaving  tlie  hilly  country,  the  road  wound  down  to  the  sea- 
shore, and  followed  the  margin  of  the  beach  of  Magnisi.  The 
promontory  of  that  name,  distinguished  by  a  stout  martello 
tower,  appeared  at  a  little  distance  on  my  right.  The  path  then 
deviated,  penetrating  once  more  into  the  country,  and  crossing  the 
neck  of  a  broad  peninsula  on  the  extremity  of  which  the  city  of 
Augusta  is  built.  This  place  with  its  castle  was  a  prominent 
object  for  some  miles.  It  looked  very  respectably,  indeed 
beautifully,  but  better  undoubtedly  than  nearer  to,  and  still 
more  so  than  within,  its  decaying  walls.  The  town  is  said 
to  contain  about  eight  thousand  inhabitants,  the  most  of  them 
wretchedly  poor.  It  is  chiefly  memorable  for  the  destructive 
ravages  of  an  earthquake  which  occurred  a  century  ago,  when 
great  numbers  of  people  Were  crushed  to  death  under  the  ruins 
of  their  houses,  and  others  were  destroyed  by  means  of  a  sul- 
phurous vapour  finding  its  way  to  a  powder  magazine,  and  causing 
it  to  explode  with  tremendous  violence.  From  the  peninsula 
a  cape  projects  towards  the  north,  which  figures  in  Sicilian 
annals  as  the  place  where  the  Empress  Helena  landed  with  the 
Holy  Cross  on  her  return  from  Jerusalem.  It  is  thence  called 
Capo  Santo  Croce. 

In  the  course  of  the  ride  Hybla  was  seen,  that  beautiful 
Hybla,  famous  in  olden  times  for  the  abundance  and  excellence 
of  its  honey,  and,  judging  from  the  profusion  of  thyme  and  the 
aroma  of  a  thousand  wild  flowers  in  its  neighbourhood,  still 
capable  of  maintaining  its  ancient  reputation.  At  length  we 
entered  on  a  level  tract,  once  teeming  with  the  fruits  of  hus- 
bandry but  now  almost  totally  despoiled  of  culture,  in  the  midst 
of  which  was  a  miserable  Fondaco,  the  only  Inn  which  offered, 
and  here  I  have  stopped  for  rest  and  food. 

This  plain,  which  I  prefer  to  call  by  the  old  name  of  Leon- 
tium,  though  changed  in  modern  times  to  that  of  Lentini,  is 
famous  for  the  tradition  that  here  wheat  was  first  cultivated  and 
used  as  food,  and  hence  introduced  into  Greece  and  Italy  along 


342  JOURNEY  TO  CATANIA. 

with  the  worship  of  Ceres.  The  soil  has  lost  nothing  of  its 
natural  fertility  and  only  wants  a  colony  of  enterprising  settlers, 
Hke  our  western  emigrants,  to  make  it  yield  an  exuberance  of 
the  richest  products.  Its  present  neglect  is  truly,  deplorable. 
Lentini,  the  capital,  is  built  on  a  hill  not  far  off.  Antiquaries 
recognise  it  as  the  habitation  of  the  Lgestrigones,  the  most  ancient 
inhabitants  of  Sicily,  and  they  have  given  the  name  of  Campi  Laes- 
trigonii  to  the  surrounding  fields.  The  people  were  a  gigantic 
race  according  to  Homer,  and,  if  we  may  credit  the  same  vera- 
cious authority,  not  particularly  given  to  the  worship  of  Ceres, 
for  they  destroyed  eleven  of  Ulysses'  ships,  and  made  a  banquet 
of  their  crews.  It  is  almost  idle  to  refer  to  such  mythological 
tales,  but  as  they  occur  in  the  writings  of  one  who,  because  he 
was  the  prince  of  poets,  it  has  been  the  fashion  to  cry  up  as  his- 
torian, geographer,  philosopher,  theogonist,  in  short,  the  professor 
of  every  art  and  science  relative  to  antiquity,  —  it  is  impossible 
to  pass  them  by  in  entire  silence.  Many  a  classical  scholar  who 
would  flout  the  accounts  given  in  sacred  history  of  the  sons 
of  Anak,  the  race  of  Emims,  of  Og,  king  of  Bashan,  and  his 
iron  bedstead  nine  cubits  long,  can  yet  read  with  perfect  respect, 
nay,  confidence,  the  Homeric  fictions  of  Lssstrigonians  and  the 
Cyclops  —  of  Antiphates,  Polyphemus  and  a  host  of  other  mon- 
sters —  '  of  size  enormous  and  terrific  mien.' 

During  the  Qusestorship  of  Cicero,  so  fruitful  was  this  district 
in  corn,  that  he  called  it  the  grand  magazine  of  Sicily,  and  its 
wine  was  reputed  to  be  the  best  in  the  island.  Now,  a  little  rice 
and  some  hemp  and  flax  constitute  its  productions.  Its  depopu- 
lated condifion  is  partly  ascrikable  to  the  unwholesome  air, 
caused  by  the  Foggie  or  wet  grounds  along  the  shore  of  the 
Lake  Biviere,  just  back  of  the  town  of  Lentini.  The  evil  is 
regarded  as  inevitable,  but  it  is  probable  that  a  lltde  attention  to 
draining  the  earth,  especially  by  deepening  the  outlet,  now  much 
choked  up,  leading  from  the  lake  to  the  sea,  would  remedy  the 
mal'aria,  and  make  the  air  as  salubrious  as  in  former  times. 

But  as  I  am  impatient  to  leave  the  Fondaco,  I  shall  wind  up 
my  notes  after  saying  a  word  or  two  of  my  accommodations. 


A  FOiNDACO  —  CASE  OF  CONSCIENCE.  343 

It  is  more  of  an  ostlery  than  an  inn,  but  it  is  the  only  place  of 
rest  answering  to  either  description  which  I  have  noticed  during 
the  whole  ride.  It  is  a  low  single-story  hut,  built  of  stone, 
having  a  stable  at  one  end  and  the  house  part  at  the  odier.  A 
New  England  barn  would  be  a  mirror  of  cleanliness  in  com- 
parison with  such  a  hovel.  I  had  a  table  set  out  for  my  use  at 
some  distance  from  this  wigwam,  in  order  to  escape  the  offen- 
sive atmosphere  about  it,  and  my  dinner  has  been  furnished  from 
a  basket  of  provisions  which  I  brought  from  Syracuse.  Every 
traveller  in  the  island  who  studies  comfort  mAist  provide  for 
his  own  wants  on  the  road,  including  all  the  portable  articles 
from  the  substantial  of  cold  roast,  down  to  tea,  sugar  and  con- 
diments.—  A  Sicilian  of  respectable  appearance,  whom  1  over- 
took a  few  miles  back  travelling  upon  a  mule,  and  who  stopped 
at  the  Fondaco  to  bait,  w^as  invited  to  share  with  me  in  such 
fare  as  my  stores  offered ;  and  this  he  did  with  a  keen  zest.  It 
being  Lent,  a  season  of  prohibition  of  meats  to  all  good  Catho- 
lics, I  had  my  doubts  at  first  how  far  the  casuistry  of  my  com- 
panion might  avail  him  to  satisfy  his  appetite,  and  at  the  same 
time  to  quiet  his  conscience.  But  he  settled  all  by  saying  as 
I  carved  a  fowl ;  — '  The  Sicilians  don't  eat  meat  now.  They 
must  not  taste  that  j)oIIastro,^  (pointing  to  the  pullet ;)  '  but  I 
am  an  American,  I  am  an  Englishman,  I  am  of  all  nations.  So 
I  can  bear  a  part  and  join  you.'  This  was  accompanied  with 
a  certain  knowing  look,  followed  by  an  attempt  at  a  chuckle; 
and  in  justice  to  him  I  am  bound  to  say  that  he  gave  me  no 
cause  to  doubt  his  character  or  professions  as  a  cosmopolite.  Nor 
was  he  the  only  one ;  for  during  the  entertainment  three  stout, 
hungry  dogs,  grim  as  Cerberus,  posted  themselves  beside  us 
with  mouths  watering.  They  had  not  probably  heard  of  the 
Lent ;  —  at  any  rate,  when  we  finished,  they  made  no  scruple 
of  striking  in  for  their  share  of  the  rations. 

Catania  ;  —  eight,  P.  M.  —  My  journey  is  at  length  accom- 
plished, but  not  so  my  journal.  The  labour  of  the  one  exacts 
the  other,  and  it  is  difficult  to  say  which  is  hardest.     As  the 


344  JOURNEY  TO  CATANIA. 

ground  must  be  retraced  in  description  sooner  or  later,  it  is  better 
to  do  it  now  than  on  the  morrow  ;  wherefore,  '  Andiamo.' 

In  looking  back  on  the  journey,  I  have  to  record,  in  the  first 
place,  a  feeling  of  disappointment  and  surprise  in  respect  to  the 
general  appearance  of  the  country.  With  the  exception  of  the 
last  few  miles,  its  aspect  has  been  that  of  impoverishment,  rude- 
ness, and  prevailing  desolation.  The  distance  of  this  city  from 
Syracuse  is  fortytwo  miles.  The  route  I  travelled  is  the 
great  highway  which  has  been  beaten  by  the  footsteps  of  man 
and  beast  for  a  period  of  between  two  and  three  thousand 
years.  It  has  led  me  over  that  portion  of  country  so  renowned 
for  its  fertility  in  former  times,  as  to  have  claimed  for  the  whole 
island  the  appellation  of  Granary  of  Rome.  Yet  of  nearly  all 
of  it  I  am  obliged  to  say,  it  is  a  forbidding  waste. 

The  part  of  the  island  thus  far  ssen.  —  with  the  exception 
again  made  in  favour  of  this  immediate  neighbourhood,  and  to 
which  I  shall  attempt  to  do  justice  in  the  proper  place,  —  has 
nearly  lapsed  into  its  primitive  barbarism.  It  differs  in  one 
respect  from  the  wilder  parts  of  the  United  States,  namely,  that 
it  is  almost  entirely  denuded  of  trees.  Instead  of  the  deep^ 
solemn  forests  of  my  native  land,  whose  shades  are  grateful,  and 
whose  immensity  has  a  species  of  grandeur  which  partly  com- 
pensates in  the  absence  of  other  objects,  the  country  is  open 
and  bare, —  exhibiting  rocks  and  craggy  hills  interspersed  with 
uncultivated  plains,  a  few  turbid  streams  rushing  impetuously 
toward  the  sea,  some  half  ruinous  towns  like  Augusta,  Hybla, 
and  Lentini,  but  no  village  on  the  immediate  route,  only  a 
lonely  house  here  and  there,  and  no  scenes  of  stirring  and  suc- 
cessful industry  to  gladden  the  eye  or  cheer  the  heart,  —  such  is 
the  general  outline  of  much  that  has  fallen  under  my  observa- 
tion today.  Abstract  from  the  scene  its  numerous  historic  and 
classic  associations,  forget  that  Sicily  it  was,  and  litde  intrinsi- 
cally would  be  left  to  interest. 

So  much  for  the  mass  ;  —  let  me  now  go  back  to  some  par- 
ticulars which  at  first  sight  may  be  thought  to  make  against  this 
sweeping  conclusion.     I  passed  a  few  olive  plantations,  but  they 


ASPECT  OF  THE  COUNTRY.  345 

were  very  ill-looking.  The  olive  tree,  though  valuable,  is 
destitute  of  all  pretensions  to  beauty.  The  form  of  the  leaf  is 
like  the  common  willow,  but  its  green  is  deep  like  the  plum-leaf, 
and  its  texture  is  much  thicker.  The  trunk  of  the  tree  is 
almost  always  crooked  or  inclined,  and  a  grove  of  olives  at  a 
distance  looks  not  unlike  one  of  our  old-fashioned  orchards  of 
gnarled,  sour,  cider-press  apple  trees.  I  saw  several  vineyards, 
but  they  were  of  no  great  extent ;  and  with  the  mode  of  traiiiing 
common  to  Sicily,  a  vineyard  cannot  be  an  attractive  object. 
The  shoots  are  just  beginning  to  appear.  By  the  side  of  each 
of  the  plants,  a  small  cane  is  stuck  in  the  ground  for  the  twining 
of  the  tendrils.  It  is  about  a  yard,  or  at  the  most,  not  more 
than  a  yard  and  a  half,  in  height ;  so  that  a  field  of  grape  vines 
thus  trained,  can  look  no  better  than  a  field  of  Indian  corn 
before  the  stalk  begins  to  arise,  and  by  no  means  so  w^ell  as  when 
with  us  that  beautiful,  flowery  stem  is  fully  shot  up.  '^^  Occa- 
sionally during  the  journey,  I  saw  orange  and  citron  trees,  (some 
in  bearing,)  also  the  fig,  almond,  palmetta  and  others,  but  they 
were  few  and  far  between.  Around  the  poor  dwellings  which 
1  passed,  the  common  cactus  was  growing  ;  and  well  it  might, 
for,  according  to  Pliny,  it  is  indigenous  to  Sicily.  I  remarked 
towards  the  close  of  the  ride  some  aloes  of  very  large  dimen- 
sions ;  and  from  what  I  observed,  the  native  Flora  of  the  island 
must  be  beautiful.  I  counted  upwards  of  twenty  varieties  of  wild 
flowers  as  I  journeyed,  many  of  which  I  gathered  to  add  to  my 
herbarium.  But  all  these  things,  which  I  have  now  cordially 
allowed  for,  were  too  inconsiderable  to  serve  as  an  offset  to  the 
generally  unfavourable  aspect  of  the  country. 

I  saw  no  women,  with  very  few  exceptions,  through  the  day. 
It  is  not  usual,  I  understand,  to  find  them  employed  in  the 
fields  in  this  part  of  Sicily.  Mules  and  jacks  were  sometimes 
met,  toiling  with  burdens  which  shamed  the  comparatively  in- 
significant loading  of  my  sturdy  quadruped,  great  as  I  had  pre- 
viously thought  it.  These  animals  were  tied  in  strings  of  six  or 
eight,  following  in  regular  file  a  leader,  which  the  driver  would 
guide,  mounted.  In  the  little  ploughing  which  I  saw,  oxen  were 
44 


346  JOURNEY  TO  CATANIA. 

ussd  for  draught.  They  were  a  stout  and  strong  breed,  with 
horns  prodigiously  long,  more  than  double  the  size  of  those  of 
our  bullocks.  The  plough  was  the  clumsiest  thing  imaginable, 
saving  the  still  ruder  one  used  by  the  peasants  of  Malta.  It  has 
but  one  handle,  and  the  b'ade  cannot  penetrate  the  glebe 
half  the  depth  which  would  be  needful  in  good  tillage.  As 
for  the  equipments  of  my  horse  and  the  gear  of  my  mule, 
awkward  as  they  were,  1  found  they  were  quite  favorable  spe- 
cimens of  the  Sicilian  art  of  harness-making.  And  then  for  the 
road,  —  if  any  one  has  seen  a  cow  path  among  the  rockiest 
wilds  of  the  coast  of  '  old  Essex,'  he  may  form  a  tolerable 
notion  of  its  finish  and  accommodation.  The  best  part  of  it,  at 
least  by  far  the  most  pleasant,  was  a  natural  road,  that  is  to  say, 
the  sea-shore,  and  no  thanks  were  due  for  this  to  his  majesty  of 
the  Two  Sicilies. 

Two  or  three  considerable  streams  were  met,  which  could 
only  be  crossed  by  fording.  One  of  them  I  was  obliged 
to  pass  at  its  mouth  where  it  enters  the  sea.  In  fact,  the 
fording  ground  was  considerably  beyond  its  outlet,  on  a  subma- 
rine bar  which  the  tides  have  heaved  up  ;  and  the  only  method 
to  know  the  course  of  this  was  to  send  a  man  before,  with  a 
pole,  to  grope  the  way  which  my  horse  was  to  follow.  The 
guide  was  stripped  to  his  shirt  as  he  set  forth  on  the  exploration, 
and  even  that  precaution  did  not  avail  him  much,  for  the  water 
reached  to  his  waist.  The  surf  was  quite  considerable  at 
either  end  of  the  bar,  breaking  upon  the  beach  in  large  waves  ; 
and  I  had  serious  fears  whether  my  horse  could  secure  his  foot- 
hold. However,  there  was  no  alternative  but  to  pass  the  Rubi- 
con. The  surf  was  breasted,  but  the  track  was  soon  lost,  and 
the  horse,  as  I  expected,  was  obliged  to  make  good  his  passage 
by  swimming.  Arrived  at  the  other  side,  the  sight  of  the 
tumbling  breakers  was  not  more  agreeable  to  him  than  to  his 
rider.  He  v/as  unwilling  to  enter  it  and  hung  back  awhile,  and  I 
did  not  know  but  that  I  should  be  obliged  fairly  to  put  to  sea  with 
him,  and  bid  adieu  to  the  land  trip.  But  a  wave  at  last  swept  us 
to  shore,  dashing  over  the  saddle-bow  and  half  burying  us,  and 


APPROACH  TO  MOUNT  iETNA.  347 

once  more  both  horse  and  horseman  were  glad  to  find  them- 
selves on  firm  ground.  In  addition  to  these  streams  two  larger 
rivers  were  crossed  in  crazy  ferry  boats.  '^^  Now,  in  what  part  of 
America  would  not  good  substantial  bridges  be  found  in  such 
places?  The  condition  of  a  thoroughfare  generally  bears  some 
relation  to  the  importance  of  the  place  to  which  it  principally  con- 
ducts. But  Catania  is  a  city  greater  than  Messina,  and  second  only 

to  Palermo  in  wealth  and  population,  in  all  Sicily. And  this 

is  an  '  old  country  ! '  yes,  old  enough  in  all  conscience  to  have 
hit  upon  and  put  in  practice  some  of  those  improvements,  called 
'  notions,'  which  New  England  of  yesterday  enjoys  and  may 
justly  boast. 

Lava  I  saw  not  for  the  first  twelve  miles.  I  then  crossed  a 
small  hill  composed  of  it  and  volcanic  scoriae.  Some  patches 
of  the  material  were  seen  a  few  miles  further  on ;  but  the  gen- 
uine jEtnean  lava  I  did  not  meet  with  till  within  about  a  league 
of  this  city.  At  first  the  fences  began  to  be  made  of  it,  then 
some  houses ;  at  length  the  road  was  carried  over  uninterrupted 
beds  of  lava,  and  finally  paved  with  it. 

After  leaving  the  ford  which  subjected  me  to  so  much  incon- 
venience, and  continuing  my  ride  along  the  beach,  a  new  scene 
opened,  ^tna  then  began  to  assume  its  peculiar  features  of  sub- 
limity. Its  form  took  a  grandeur  which  I  could  not  but  gaze 
upon  with  increasing  admiration.  It  spread  out  in  magnificent 
display  the  huge  dimensions  of  its  base  and  sides ;  and  though 
ils  top  was  at  first  obscured,  the  general  effect  was  no  ways 
diminished,  as  the  outline  was  filled  up  by  the  imagination  from 
the  proportions  of  the  Mount  which  were  visible,  and  the  peak 
was  carried  to  a  greater  elevation,  perhaps,  than  it  actually  would 
bear  to  the  eye.  But  there  were  moments  from  the  first  when 
its  summit  could*  be  plainly  discerned,  far  overtopping  the  clouds 
which  hung  against  its  declivities ;  and  during  the  last  hour's  ride 
it  was  constantly  in  view.  The  masses  of  vapour  which  had  con- 
densed about  the  mountain  were  then  parted  and  thrown  back. 
They  were  not  light  and  fleecy,  but  those  hard  clouds  seen  by 
us  in  times  of  clear,  brisk   northwesters,  and  which  wear  the 


348  JOURNEY  TO  CATANIA. 

aspect  of  a  certain  stability.  As  they  stretched  on  either  hand 
they  gave  their  ample  folds,  like  broad  etherial  banners,  to 
brighten  with  every  hue  of  the  setting  sun.  Its  rays,  at  the 
same  time,  played  refulgently  on  the  mountain  brow,  which 
seemed  to  lean  upon  the  azure  vault  of  the  firmament,  far  up- 
lifted from  the  storms  and  mutations  of  earthly  things.  The 
poet  finely  conceived,  without  ever  being  favoured  with  the  sight, 
of  this  very  spectacle  of  JEtna,  when  speaking  of  the  servant  of 
the  living  God  and  the  grandeur  of  his  hope  in  immortality,  he 
compared  him  to 

—  '  Some  tall  cliff  that  lifts  its  awful  form, 
Swells  from  the  vale  and  midway  leaves  the  storm , 
Tho'  round  its  breast  the  rolling  clouds  are  spread. 
Eternal  sunshine  settles  on  its  head.' 

I  could  not  satisfy  myself  but  once  that  I  saw  smoke  issuing 
from  the  crater,  and  then  it  was  a  thin,  darkish  vapour  soon  dis- 
sipated. Since  arriving  here  I  have  learned  that  ^tna  has  of  late 
been  tranquil,  and  only  emitted  light  wreadis  of  smoke.  The 
inhabitants,  consequently,  are  as  fearless  as  though  the  mountain 
had  never  burned,  nor  their  houses  been  shaken  to  the  ground, 
nor  rivers  of  fire  run  down  their  streets.  Yet  Catania,  it  is 
said,  has  seven  times  been  swept  with  torrents  of  lava,  and 
thrice  been  totally  destroyed.  It  is  now  more  populous  than 
ever.  And  though  built  up  with  the  memorials  and  instruments 
of  its  former  catastrophes  and  desolations,  —  though  founded 
upon  lava,  constructed  of  lava,  paved  with  lava,  —  and  though 
destined,  in  all  human  probability,  to  another,  perhaps  speedy, 
overthrow,  —  still  its  crowds  of  human  beings  dwell  carelessly, 
and  at  ease.  They  believe,  —  and  they  live  and  act  in  the 
conviction, — -that their  'mountain,'  like  David's,  'stands  strong.'' 
And  with  all  the  lessons  of  the  past  before  their  eyes,  and 
in  view  of  the  ravages  which  have  befallen  their  city,  their 
example  is  singularly  instructive.  It  proves,  that  as  man  is 
seldom  the  better  for  the  experience  of  others,  he  is  all  but 
equally  so  for  the  experience  of  himself, 


BEAUTY  AND  SUBLIMITY.  349 

I  have  spoken  of  the  appearance  of  Mina  during  the  last 
stage  of  my  journey ;  hut  there  was  an  assemblage  of  objects  in 
the  sceneiy  then  exhil)ited,  of  a  character  to  suit  the  most  fas- 
tidious taste.  It  was  difficult  to  say  whedier  the  beautiful  or 
the  subliuie  predominated.  Before  me,  was  the  mountain  con- 
stantly enlarging  as  nearer  approached.  On  iny  right,  was  the 
blue  expanse  of  the  Mediterranean,  not  still,  but  moderately 
ruffled ;  and  the  wind  which  set  in  toward  the  shore  produced 
a  swell,  just  large  enough  to  be  pleasing  to  the  eye,  rolling  and 
breaking  along  the  sands  in  billows  of  snowy  whiteness.  A  few 
Sicilian  pollache  and  paranzelli  —  vessels  fantastic,  but  not  un- 
pleasing,  in  their  trim  and  models,  —  were  sailing  in  the  bay. 
To  the  left,  a  succession  of  verdant  plains  w^as  seen  stretching 
for  leagues  till  bounded  by  craggy  hills  of  romantic  forms. 
Herds  and  flocks  in  great  numbers  were  grazing  in  the  pastures. 
The  breeze  wafted  the  music  of  their  little  bells ;  and  the  air 
was  perfumed  with  the  odours  of  the  sweetest  wild  flowers. 

Meanwhile,  Catania  began  to  rise  as  from  the  sea,  —  coming 
up  like  a  second  Venus  from  the  bosom  of  the  waves,  —  and 
displaying  her  white  turrets,  and  spires,  and  domes  with  fairy  grace. 
The  slopes  of  jEtna,  midway  and  downwards,  were  clothed 
with  softest  verdure,  and  diversified  with  innumerable  habitations, 
—  cottages  and  palaces,  castles  and  convents,  towns,  villages 
and  hamlets.  Above  the  vineyards,  a  broad  belt  of  olive  groves, 
and  still  higher,  of  oaks,  chesnuts,  beeches  and  evergreens 
girdled  the  mountain ;  —  then  bald  cliffs  appeared,  —  then  snows 
half  hid  in  a  drapery  of  clouds,  —  and  lastly,  in  solemn,  solitary 
and  moveless  state,  the  hoary  peak  of  old  iEtna,  —  the  rim  of 
its  crater  perfectly  defined  with  a  line  of  sablest  hue,  and  lead- 
ing the  imagination  to  complete  the  effect  of  the  whole,  by  re- 
flecting on  the  inexhaustible  stores  of  volcanic  fires  engulfed  in 
its  deep  caverns.  Those  fires  now  slumber.  The  elemental 
powers  which  have  so  often  produced  the  most  awful  devasta- 
tions, are  hushed  in  temporary  repose.  Yet  they  wait  but  the 
mandate  of  the  Omnipotent,  to  exert  their  utmost  terrors.     '  He 


350  JOURNEY  TO  UATANIA. 

tOLicheth  the  mountains  and  they  smoke.     They  flow  down  at 
His  presence.' 

Riding  along  the  strand  I  passed  the  recent  wrecks  of 
some  vessels  of  considerable  size,  cast  high  upon  the 
beach.  Inquiring  of  the  muleteer,  I  learned  that  they 
were  barks  of  Girgenti  going  to  Naples  with  corn,  and  were 
caught  off  this  coast  in  a  violent  gale  which  they  were  unable 
to  beat  against,  and  being  driven  ashore,  were  totally  lost. 
They  were  literally  broken  to  pieces.  In  one  place  was  a  stern 
with  the  name  of  a  vessel  unworn  and  plain ;  in  another,  some 
hundred  yards  distant,  a  forecastle  ;  further  on,  a  large  part  of 
a  hull  turned  bottom  upwards.  They  seemed  to  have  been 
strong  vessels,  and  from  the  newness  of  the  paint,  looked  like 
wrecks  not  a  week  old. 

On  approaching  the  city  and  about  half  a  league  from  its 
gates,  I  met  two  gentlemen  on  horseback,  who  surveyed  me  as  a 
stranger  with  some  attention  while  they  passed,  and  afterwards 
made  inquiries  of  the  muleteer,  who  was  then  behind.  Under- 
standing that  I  was  an  American,  they  turned  back,  and  overtak- 
ing me,  introduced  themselves  and  entered  into  conversation  in 
English.  — '  You  are  from  America  ? '  — '  And  you,  gentlemen, 
are  not  Sicilians.'  —  ^  No,'  they  replied,  ^  we  are  Englishmen, 
but  residents  in  Catania,  and  the  only  two  of  our  countrymen  es- 
tablished here.'  Conversation  became  at  once  free  and  friendly. 
'  I  should  know,'  said  one  of  them,  '  that  you  came  from  Sy- 
racuse by  the  bunch  of  papyrus  which  your  mule  carries.'  — 
They  confirmed,  in  connexion,  the  account  that  the  reed 
grows  no  where  naturally  in  Sicily  except  on  the  Anapus. 
On  my  asking  if  any  Americans  had  visited  Catania  for  some 
time  past ;  — '  none '  —  said  they,  — '  for  two  or  three  years. 
There  is  one  of  your  countrymen  at  Messina,'  added  the 
younger.  '  He  is  a  mercantile  partner  of  a  brother  of 
mine.  It  is  Mr  P.  of  Boston.'  — '  So  then,'  said  I,  *  this  is  a 
singular  coincidence.  I  bear  letters  of  introduction  both  from 
Gibraltar  and  Malta  to  the  house  of  Messrs  P.  and  R.  at  Mes- 
sina ;  and  what  is  more,  I  have  a  letter  to  a  brother  of  the 
second  of  those  gentlemen  who  resides  in  Catania.     He  thus 


CATASTROPHES  OF  THE  CITY.  351 

proves  to  be  no  other  than  yourself.' — 'We  proceeded,  the  re- 
mainder of  the  way,  on  the  footing  of  old  acquaintance.  They 
brought  me  to  the  Albergo,  where  I  am  lodged,  on  the  principal 
square  of  the  city,  bespoke  the  attentions  of  the  landlord,  and 
then  left  me  to  rest. 

It  is  a  house  which  promises  well,  and  from  present  ap- 
pearances I  hope  to  enjoy  here  the  true  '  Dapes  et  mensae  Si- 
culae.'  Among  the  refreshments  served  this  evening  I  have 
drank  the  most  delicious  sherbet  cooled  with  snow  from  Mount 
jEtna.     It  recalled  a  line  in  Martial, 

Tu  super  aestivas,  Alcime,  solve  nives.  '72 
He  wanted  the  grateful  refrigerant  to  improve  his  old  Falernian. 
But  I  would  not  have  exchanged  the  luxury  of  my  simpler 
beverage  for  the  '  duos  sextantes '  of  his  ruby  liquid.  I  go  to 
enjoy  the  more  precious  restorative  of  balmy  sleep,  compared 
with  which  every  other  cordial,  even  the  nectar  of  Olympus, 
would  be  '  stale,  flat  and  unprofitable.' 

March,  14.  —  Today  I  have  contented  myself  with  taking  a 
general  glance  at  things,  and  have  been  rather  laying  out  the 
ground  for  future  observation  than  entering  into  a  minute  in- 
spection of  particular  objects.  I  find  there  is  much  to  be 
examined.  For  little  as  Catania  is  known  to  the  modern  world 
generally,  it  is  a  city  second  in  historic  renown  only  to  Syracuse, 
of  all  the  great  towns  of  Sicily.  Palermo,  In  point  of  impor- 
tance, is  a  creature  of  yesterday  compared  with  the  antiquity  of 
this  splendid  capital  of  the  Val  Demona. 

Catania,